It’s no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for kids. Research shows eating breakfast is associated with better performance on math tests, vocabulary tests, demanding mental tasks and reaction to frustration.
Life gets busy no matter who you are, and for many, whipping up a wholesome breakfast is at the bottom of the priority list on hectic mornings. But making breakfast in advance can make the difference between a stressful and a seamless start to your day.
While a drive-thru breakfast may reduce morning stress, it doesn’t often fit the bill for healthy choices. Here are five simple and healthy breakfast hacks to help you wake up stress-free.
Oats are a staple breakfast ingredient – loaded with energizing B vitamins, iron and hearty carbohydrates. The night before a busy morning, line up mason jars or drinking glasses and fill with overnight oats ingredients. These keep for two to three days. Try one of these nutrient-rich and delicious flavor combinations:
Veggie + egg muffins
Protein is a key nutrient for breakfast as it helps you stay fuller for longer than fat and carbohydrates. Eggs are a nutrient-dense, complete protein that can be incorporated in a variety of breakfast recipes from omelets to muffins. Try these easy-to-make tomato and basil egg muffins that quickly heat up and are ready to eat on-the-go. The cheesiness makes them popular amongst kids.
Chia seed parfait
High in fiber, calcium, iron and heart healthy fatty acids, chia seeds make a nutritious addition to a breakfast. When combined with milk, chia seeds puff up and create a pudding-like texture that’s a delight to enjoy with your favorite fruit. In a mason jar, stir together 1/2 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 1 teaspoon honey, then refrigerate until thick and creamy. Top with fresh fruit, like berries or banana slices, along with a couple tablespoons of granola.
Bento box combo
A throw-together breakfast is a convenient way to include a variety of nutrients. In a bento box, add these easy ingredients that are a match made in flavor heaven:
- Egg halves sprinkled with everything-but-the-bagel seasoning
- A low-prep fruit such as grapes
- Whole wheat crackers
- Cucumber slices
Fresh omelets taste best, but they do require some effort. Fortunately, the bulk of the prep can be done the night before. Simply whisk together a couple of eggs with a handful of spinach, diced tomatoes and onions, shredded cheese and a splash of unsweetened milk. In the morning, the omelet mixture is ready to pour for quick sear in an olive-oil coated skillet.
A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming; a little planning and preparation can go a long way. Your future self will thank you for it.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more health tips and information, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.
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