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Best Breakfast Bets for Kids (and Their Parents Too!)

December 7, 2009

Just today, I received an email from my good friend Jen. Here’s what it said: “The other morning at breakfast before school, Jared said “Mom, can you ask Elisa for some breakfast suggestions that will give me energy and not make me feel so tired….?”

I’m so glad my 9 year-old friend Jared asked such a thoughtful question, and I’m so happy to answer him. I’m especially glad that at a young age, Jared is making an association between what he eats and how he feels. Jared is also quite athletic, like my sons, and it’s especially important for active kids to get enough calories and nutrients to meet their needs and help them perform optimally both at school and on the field.

The good news is that no one has to slave over a stove (if at all) for more than 10 minutes to start their day off strong with a healthful, great tasting, satisfying, and energizing morning meal. They key is to pair protein- and fiber-rich foods that are filling and provide key nutrients to help kids grow well, and to help parents have enough energy to take care of (not to mention keep up with!) their kids.

So Jared, here are  some quick and easy breakfast ideas you and your family can put together to help you start your day off on the right foot. These ideas will also help any of you who skimp on or skip breakfast, or take not-so-healthful morning short cuts–that includes the adorable little girl who, more times than I’d like to count, can be seen on her morning walk to school eating a pink frosted donut (with sprinkles) for breakfast.

#1: Egg-In-A-Cup: Place 1 scrambled egg (made with nonstick cooking spray or 1 teaspoon trans fat free margarine) into a cup; add 1 slice whole wheat bread (broken up into pieces) to the cob and mix well until the egg and bread are combined. Round out the meal with a clementine and a cup (8 ounces) of skim or 1% milk.

#2: Grilled Cheese French Toast: First, make the Make French toast by dipping 2 slices of whole wheat bread into 1 beaten egg; place the bread on a heated non-stick pan (coated with nonstick cooking spray). Cook both sides evenly; before you remove the French toast from the pan, place 1 slice of American cheese on one of the pieces of French toast and top the side with the cheese with the other piece of French toast. When the cheese is melted, remove the “sandwich” from the pan; cut in quarters, and enjoy with a 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of orange juice.

#3. Fruit And Nut Cereal: In a bowl, combine whole grain cereal (choose one with at least 4 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving) with 1/4 cup dried fruit (apricots, cherries, raisins–any kind with no added sugar) OR 1/2 cup fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries) and one tablespoon of nuts (almond slivers, chopped walnuts). Top the cereal/fruit/nuts with 1/2 cup skim or 1% milk.

#4: Nut Butter Delight: Top a toasted whole wheat pita or English muffin (cut in half) with 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter (natural, low sugar options preferred) and banana or green apple slices (or have the fruit on the side if you prefer). Round out the meal with–you guessed it–1 cup skim or 1% milk.

#5: Yummy Yogurt: Mix 2 tablespoons of nuts (like walnuts, cashews, or peanuts) and 1/2 cup fresh berries or 2 tablespoons dried fruit with 1 cup low fat plain yogurt; OR you can combine the yogurt with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and have the nuts on the side.

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