As the first, and arguably most important, meal of the day, what you eat matters. Breakfast sets the tone for the day. In fact, eating breakfast is even associated with better academic performance
Including hearty whole grain carbohydrates, heart-healthy fats and lean proteins can help reduce food cravings and lead to better choices throughout the day. This may seem easier said than done when many of us have a child who just can’t wake up in time for breakfast or doesn’t have an appetite early in the morning. If this you, you may find packing breakfast for the car or for your child to eat in homeroom after their appetite arrives is a better option.
Help your child create lifetime healthy habits
, by getting them involved in the process of planning breakfast. Start by having them make a list of portable breakfast ideas, then have them join you in shopping for the ingredients and preparing them as needed. Always be sure they include a water bottle with their breakfast—every meal should be accompanied by water! And to get you started, try these on-the-go breakfast ideas.
1. Nature’s power bars
Find a good recipe for oat bars, one that is high in protein, fiber, and healthy whole grains and low in sugar. A good recipe might consist of whole oats, nuts, raisins, powdered milk, nut butter and honey. Simply bake the bars on a cookie sheet and once they are cool, have your kids individually wrap the bars. This is a perfect chance to introduce your children to oats, as they help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and excess weight gain. But don't worry. You don’t have to explain that to them!
2. Cereal & milk in a thermal container
Pack cereal the night before, don’t forget to add cinnamon
. That way, you can wait until right before heading out the door to simply add milk. Then grab a banana, and you are good-to-go!
3. Apple with nut butter
This one not only tastes great, but it’s also fun for the kids. Help your child cut the apple in four slices and help them reassemble it using nut butter as the glue. Store in the refrigerator and grab it on the way out the door. Just make sure you know your school’s nut butter policy. If there is a no peanut butter rule, try almond or sunbutter.
4. Muffin pan frittatas
Find a tasty recipe packed with eggs, non-fat milk, low-fat cheese and veggies and bake it in muffin a pan. These mini portable frittatas can be stored in the refrigerator and make an easy on-the-go finger food!
5. Greek yogurt & an individual bag of nuts
Let your child pick out their favorite Greek yogurt
, nuts, (ie. almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios) and a few of their favorite dried fruits, like blueberries or raisins. Then have them assemble individual trail mix bags before the week starts.
They can even add a whole grain cereal to the mix! In the morning, grab a yogurt, a trail mix bag, and a spoon, and you are ready to go! To save time, some stores sell nuts and dried fruit packaged in individual portions.
6. Pre-made smoothies
Depending on your schedule, you can create individual smoothie bags or use ice cube trays and store them in freezer. That way all you need to do in the morning is toss them in the blender and go. If you need something easier, you can blend the smoothies the night before and add ice in the morning! Put the blender back in the fridge to save time on washing. Then add it to the next dishwasher cycle.
Reheated frozen whole grain waffles
made with bananas and extra eggs are not only easy, but they are so tasty and feel like a special treat! Simply reheat the waffles in the toaster or toaster oven and for an extra yummy treat, top with nut butter and bananas. You could even make a waffle sandwich stuffed with fresh berries and nut butter.
Now that you have some great on-the-go breakfast ideas, schedule them into your calendar or to-do-list so you make this important meal part of your kids’ every day rituals.