As the stresses of instating a routine for your children are typically always ongoing, it’s easy to reach for pre-prepared, processed foods instead of cooking. However, convenient foods can often pack your child’s diet with unnecessary calories, carbohydrates, and refined sugars.
A proper diet at any age consists of a balance of protein, vegetables, grains, fruits and dairy with the right kinds of fats, and limited amounts of sugar and sodium. The USDA MyPlate program recommends that each meal includes one cup of fruit, one cup of vegetables, a half cup of whole grains, a half cup of protein and one cup of a low-fat dairy product.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for children. Experts agree that children who do not eat breakfast have shorter attention spans and often become tired throughout the day. Mornings can be hectic, especially with younger children and trying to get everyone out of the door on time.
Incorporate these ideas to make breakfast nutritious, quick and easy:
- Be sure to include protein or fiber to keep children full until lunch.
- Plan or prep breakfast either the night before or a week ahead to save time.
- Meal preparation for the week:
- Try making whole wheat banana pancakes with bananas, oats and eggs, and refrigerate or freeze them for the week.
- Bake eggs, vegetables and cheese in a muffin tin to feed the family breakfast for the week. (Try this recipe for a spinach and feta breakfast casserole).
- Overnight oats are easy to make and don’t involve any cooking. Prepare them with oatmeal, Greek yogurt, your favorite fruit and even some chia seeds.
- Breakfast popsicles can easily be made with yogurt and fruit or your favorite smoothie blended and frozen into an ice pop.
If the mornings are rushed for you, try these grab-and-go breakfast ideas, choose 2 to 3 for a complete meal:
- A piece of fruit
- Favorite high protein and fiber cereal bar
- A piece of cheese
- A hard-boiled egg (pre-make a large batch to last through the week)
- A small handful of nuts, seeds or trail mix
What is your favorite healthy breakfast meal for kids? Let us know in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in:
- Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
- Breakfast cereal showdown: The best and the worst
- Spinach and Feta Breakfast Casserole
Photo Credit: Pen Waggener via Flickr.
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