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Healthy Breakfasts For Toddlers and Kids

Is your kiddo super stubborn and only eats white toast with strawberry jelly? Or maybe you’re just tired of acting like a short order cook and making different items for each member of your family? Or are you overwhelmed in the morning, just trying to get everyone fed and out the door that you rely on toaster pastries, a bowl of sugary cereal or a trip through the drive thru?

I’ve got some good news!

I have some interesting ideas for changing things up a bit.

We’ll look at the old stand-bys and what alternatives there are out there for a healthier breakfast.

And once you find a recipe your kiddos love, you can double (or triple!) the batch and just reheat each morning. That’s what works for us!

Are you dragging your heels?

Here’s why a healthy breakfast is so important…

  1. Empty tummy = irritable, distracted and restless child
    When your stomach is gurgling and calling out for food, it’s uncomfortable and distracting. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, he’ll have a hard time concentrating in the classroom because he’ll be thinking about food…
  2. Energy – a breakfast rich in protein will keep your child going until lunch time
  3. Skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity, higher cholesterol, and higher insulin level (all precursors for heart disease and diabetes)
  4. Eating a healthy breakfast every morning has been shown to improve short-term memory
  5. Especially for adults, when you skip breakfast, you’re less likely to make good choices later in the day…impulse control will go out the window!

The key to a healthy breakfast is higher protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates..so here you go! 19 recipes for Eggs, Toast, Pancakes and Waffles, Parfaits, and Hot Cereal:

Eggs

For the longest time, my kids wouldn’t eat eggs. But that was partly my fault. I didn’t look past the scrambled and fried options. Since I was bound and determined to get some into their little bodies (and actually have them like them and ask for more!), I started experimenting with different “vehicles” for eggs.

When I was cleaning out my cookbook binder (do you have one of those? where you print out recipes to try one day…and next thing you know there are 1000s of recipes and you couldn’t possibly try all of them before you die?), I found an old crepe recipe that I used to love. And then it hit me. Why not make egg crepes?? I didn’t add any flour or anything, just whisked up an egg, poured it in a 8″ frying pan, swirled it around until the bottom was coated, waited a minute for it to cook, and folded it up like a crepe and on the plate.  And you know what? My kids LOVED them. They aren’t as jiggly and wiggly as scrambled eggs or greasy like fried eggs…they’re basically flat egg pancakes. Much thinner than an omelet, and without the extra veggies and protein inside.

Another idea for eggs are muffins! Anything that looks like a cupcake is sure to pique their interest! What’s great about these is that they’re portable (grab one if you’re late for school and eat it in the car) and you can make a batch and reheat over the next few days for a quick and easy breakfast. Here are some good recipes to try, and remember that these recipes are versatile (you can add any ingredients you like!):

What about options for the visual eaters out there? This recipe looks like a flower and here’s one my kids call a Birds Nest.

Toast

Does your kiddo grab a piece of toast before running out the door? This is my all-time FAVORITE recipe for healthy bread. It’s gluten free and high in protein and bakes in a sheet pan to make a big ol “loaf” of flat bread. Since I have a nut-allergic child, he doesn’t get to eat this, but my other son thinks it’s delicious! It will keep you full way longer than a piece of white toast or a bowl of sugary cereal…makes some pretty amazing open-faced sandwiches too!

Pancakes and Waffles

Image courtesy of Paul | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Paul | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I would probably get booted off the island if I didn’t include some healthy recipes for the #1 favorite breakfast food for kids.

Since most pre-made frozen waffles and box mixes are chock full of hard to pronounce ingredients that sound more like science experiments, I wanted to share a few healthier ones that your kiddos will still like. And since most are already on the pancake and waffle bandwagon, tweaking the ingredients will likely go unnoticed (or at least they’ll be willing to try a new one!).

Here are some yummy (and healthier) recipes to try:

Parfaits

Or maybe you’re used to zipping through the drive thru for a healthy on-the-go breakfast…parfaits. But it’s super easy to make your own…and you know you’re using healthier ingredients (with few artificial flavors and less sugar).

Here’s one from the Food Network that shows how to put it together (certainly not rocket science and something your child can put together himself!) and if you would like to make your own granola, here’s a great recipe.

Just be careful which type of yogurt you choose…many are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners!

Hot Cereal

Do you have a little person in your house you loves those packets of oatmeal? The ones you mix with water? Most have some pretty crazy ingredients and are loaded with sugar.

A friend recently forwarded me this recipe for Microwave Cinnamon Maple Breakfast Quinoa and it looks yummy (I haven’t tried it yet but she said her toddler licks his bowl clean!).  If you’re not familiar with quinoa, here’s the scoop!

 

So the two take-aways from this week?

  1. A breakfast higher in protein, fiber and complex carbs is key
  2. It’s much easier to start serving healthier food when your young child is young, right from the start, than it is to get an older child to change his thinking about his favorite foods! That said, I do know a few families that have decided to “get healthier” and it became a family effort…they did have a bit more push back from that experience, so if you have a little one at home, I would recommend starting NOW!

Let me know which recipes worked for your kiddos and which ones bombed (hey, I doubt any non-dessert recipe will please 100% of the kids out there) in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

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