The most important meal of the day has always been breakfast. Yet so many kids start out the day eating foods that do more to hinder their development than help it. Sugary breakfast cereals and pop-tarts bathe their brains full of simple carbs and refined sugars, instead of giving the nutrition they need to stay energized and learning well. A healthy breakfast for kids gives them a good start to the day and the nutrients their growing bodies need to stay strong and active.
Components Of A Healthy Breakfast For Kids
The goal of a healthy breakfast is one that is nutrient-dense, low in sugar, and high in protein and fiber. All you really need are a handful of healthy breakfast ideas that your kids enjoy! Once you learn the basic components and what foods to avoid, making the healthy breakfast switch can be easy.
What Are Nutrient-Dense Foods?
These are basically foods with a high concentration of nutrients compared to the number of calories. Think fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and whole grains like oatmeal or barley. The most nutrient-dense foods would be vegetables, according to Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Pyramid. However, getting most kids to eat vegetables for breakfast–though an awesome goal–might be unrealistic as a starting place. As a general rule, the more fresh, less processed foods will have a greater nutrient density than something you have to reheat from a box.
Benefits And Sources Of Protein
The protein helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized and gives prolonged energy. Good sources of protein will give your child lots of useable energy with the least amount of unwanted extra sugar, saturated fat, sodium, or artificial ingredients.
For good healthy breakfast proteins, try low-fat milk, non-gmo soy milk, eggs, nuts, hard cheeses, plain low-fat yogurt, etc.
Benefits And Sources of Healthy Fiber
The fiber helps keep tummies working well and gives way to natural detox support. There are some easy ways to add fiber to your child’s diet, and breakfast is a great opportunity to start off right. Fresh fruits are high in fiber, along with whole grains. Though no hard and fast dietary fiber guidelines have been set for kids, a good measure of fiber per day would be your child’s age plus five. (1) This would give you a minimum number of grams per day.
Our Top Four Healthy Breakfasts For Kids!
1. Breakfast Muesli Delight — This is by far my favorite nutrient-dense breakfast, and my kids enjoy eating it! Several of the ingredients in this recipe contain both protein and fiber, so this breakfast is packed with nutrition. The best part is, no cooking is required. We vary this each time as well depending on what fruit we have on-hand.
2. Warm Flaxseed Oatmeal With Fresh Fruit — On colder mornings, our kids often ask for oatmeal. We use fresh rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind), and I cook them with 2% milk (sometimes half water, half milk). Soy milk adds a nice flavor too. These can still be cooked quickly in a microwave oven or more slowly on your stove top. I add ground cinnamon during the cooking too. For a healthy sweetener, we use either local honey, sucanat, or fresh maple syrup. Serve this warm, spiced concoction with fresh-cut fruit (such as, peaches or berries), and your kids might have a new breakfast favorite!
3. Eggs With Applesauce — My kids enjoy eggs, both scrambled or sunny-side up. Sometimes we’ll mix in other things with the scrambled eggs like ham, cheese, or chopped up onions/bell peppers (though my kids are not such big fans of this yet). So, when eggs are on the morning menu, I serve them with a piece of whole grain toast (at least 3 g/fiber per slice) and lots of unsweetened applesauce. Never tried eggs with applesauce? Oh my. You need to be introduced.
4. Easy Oatmeal Pancakes With Fresh Fruit (yes! We eat a LOT of oats!)
This option is packed with fiber but tends to be lower on the protein scale. To up the protein, I will sometimes serve these with a small glass of Energizing Soy Protein or low-fat milk.
My kids tend to eat the same four or five basic breakfasts, and I can vary these in different ways so they don’t get bored. Add a few healthy breakfast recipes to your weekly menu and see how much better your kids feel!