Many studies have shown that children who eat a nutritious breakfast have increased learning ability, longer attention spans, and generally better health than children who skip breakfast. A balanced breakfast that will keep a child focused and satisfied till snack time or lunch needs to include carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. However, the mad rush of getting everyone up, ready, and off to school can pose a challenge to healthful eating. To make things easier, prepare as much as you can the night before, even if it's just setting out dishes and utensils. Here are some ideas for quick, healthy breakfasts to try, some of which can be prepared or partially prepared in advance:
Smoothies are one of my kids' favorite breakfasts and also one of the easiest to prepare the night before. For each child, add 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit to a blender. Use Greek yogurt or add a scoop of protein powder for extra protein. Add some ground flax or wheat germ for a fiber boost if desired or even sneak in some veggies (a container of carrot or yellow squash baby food works great!). Stick in the fridge overnight, blend up and pour in the morning.
Fill a whole-wheat pita with diced hard-boiled or fried eggs and a slice or two of cooked turkey bacon. Sprinkle with a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Add a banana for a delicious and nutritious on-the-go breakfast.
Top toasted whole-wheat English muffins with peanut butter or almond butter (I love how the peanut butter gets all melty ... mmmmmm!) and serve with a banana and a glass of low-fat milk.
Slice strawberries or bananas over whole-grain, low-sugar cereal. Serve with a side of turkey bacon (we put four slices of turkey bacon on a plate between two paper towels and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes).
Egg muffins are packed with protein. Spray a 6-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. In the bottom of each muffin cup, layer diced ham, some veggies (sliced green onions, diced green peppers, or finely chopped broccoli), and a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese. The cups should be about 2/3 full. Whisk together six eggs with salt and pepper and divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake at 375* for 20 minutes or till the eggs are set. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute in the morning and serve with some lightly buttered whole-wheat toast.