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Is this a healthy breakfast for kids?

What Makes A Healthy Breakfast For Kids?

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!

breakfast muesli delight1. 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.

flaxseed oatmeal

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!

REFERENCES

1. Position of The American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber

Feature Image Original Photo Credit: brandonhuang via Compfight cc



8 comments… add one
  • Eryn McCormick July 3, 2013, 1:55 am

    I regret not enforcing better breakfast nutrition from the time my kids were little. Convenience won out more times than I’d like to admit. It didn’t help that one of them was a “super-taster”! But it really takes more thought than you realize to ensure that what you give them is truly nutritious. Thanks for the reminders and sharing good, sound information, Bonnie.

  • Anita Levesque July 1, 2013, 9:19 am

    Love the article. I was quilty of giving them poptarts etc. for breakfast. This is definitely a good resource for new parents. Anita

    • Bonnie | ProvenNutritionForKids July 1, 2013, 10:56 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Anita!

  • Frank Blaydes June 27, 2013, 7:51 am

    Wow! I really wish I had a good plan to make easy, healthy meals when I was raising my kids.

    You writings are so easy for me to understand. Too bad I didn’t find your site 10 years ago when I became a single dad.

    Now the kids are grown and out on their own. I hope and pray that they learned something about eating right from me.

    I will definitely tell them to check out your site and I will be back regularly for recipes..

    Great post! Thank you.

    • Bonnie (site owner) June 27, 2013, 9:03 am

      Thanks so much for your kind response, Frank! Wow, single parenthood is super hard…even harder I think for dads. It is a good reminder for me to continue to be intentional about reaching out to that demographic as well. Be sure to comment back on our recipes if you get to try them out!

  • Jory Fisher June 27, 2013, 7:23 am

    Hey Bonnie! I absolutely love your emphasis on helping our kids start their day and their LIFE with proper nutrition. I remember when my girls were into Toaster Strudel for breakfast. Glad that’s over with! (They’re all adults now. Thankfully, they survived those Toaster Strudel days….)

    Eggs with applesauce??? As in mixed in with the eggs or on the side? That’s a new one even for an adventurous eater like me!

    Thank you for your post, Bonnie.

    • Bonnie (site owner) June 27, 2013, 9:05 am

      Thanks, Jory! Toaster strudels! I remember those and even had my share of those growing up.

      And yes, the applesauce is dumped right on top of the eggs! Try a bite together on your spoon first of course before the big “dump”. 🙂 You may be surprised!

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