by Kimi Harris, Mother Nature Network
With Environmental Working Group's recent report on the large amount of sugar in many children's cereal, I thought it would be timely to share healthy breakfast ideas for children. By giving your children a hearty breakfast, you will not only be ensuring they get proper nutrition, but you will also be helping form good eating habits. Plus, research shows that feeding children breakfast helps lower the risk of lead poisoning and boosts their brain power.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that children's needs are not that much different than adults'. I feel that it's an advertisement-driven myth that children need special breakfasts. Children and adults have been eating the same breakfasts for hundreds of years, and there is no reason to stop that now just because we have a large variety of super-sugared cold cereals available.
However, as a parent, concentrating on making a delicious and nutritious meal for my children helps ensure that I eat a good breakfast as well. So feeding your children a good breakfast can help you eat a good breakfast, too. It's a win-win situation!
1. Scrambled Eggs, Stir-Fried Zucchini and Sausage: I find that we do better with a plenty of protein and vegetables. This favorite breakfast gives us a good start to the day! My daughter has been eating this breakfast since she was quite little and still loves it at age 5. So you don't end up using three pans, stir-fry the zucchini in a little fat and salt until soft, remove from pan. Cook the sausage in the pan (I use bulk sausage with no casings). Remove from pan. Add more fat/oil to the pan and then scramble the eggs in the pan. You can also add the zucchini and sausage to the scrambled eggs, but we like to keep them separate.
2. Whole Grain Slow Cooker Hot Cereal: I love waking up to a hot breakfast already made. I keep this grain mix on hand, and then it's quite simple to throw together the night before. It's also perfect for families who eat at staggered times.
3. Maple Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Butter on toast: This homemade seed-butter is delicious on apple slices and on toast. For a special treat, spread over whole-grain bread (I recommend sprouted grain bread) and cover with sliced bananas. It's a nice change from peanut butter, and makes a quick meal on the go.
4. Whole Grain Pancakes with nut butter: You can also spread the pumpkin seed butter, or nut butter of your choice on pancakes. I like to keep pancakes in the refrigerator and freezer to toast on-demand at breakfast. This recipe soaks the flour overnight, which not only reduces anti-nutrients present in whole grains, but also makes the end product fluffier and lighter.
5. Amaranth with Cream, Maple Syrup and Dried Fruit: Another option is amaranth (a traditional and nutritious whole grain), which makes a delicious hot cereal. I love it with a bit of pastured cream and pure maple syrup, and my family does, too. Oatmeal is always nice, but this recipes mixes things up a bit.
6. Healthy baked goods: Another do-ahead breakfast is having premade, nutritious muffins or biscuits on hand. You can serve with a quickly scrambled egg and a piece of fruit. My favorites include this, once again, soaked, whole grain biscuit. For a gluten- and grain-free baked good, this Spiced Apple Muffin is also a favorite. This muffin recipe uses a lot of eggs to bind the fiber-rich coconut flour together, so it's very protein and fiber-rich.
7. Fruit smoothies: We are a smoothie-loving family. Smoothies are popular with children because they are sweet, and they make an easy medium for adding in probiotic foods, like yogurt or coconut kefir. You can also grind up chia seeds or pumpkin seeds for more protein. Buy some paper straws, and your child can sip their smoothie on the way to school, if needed. I don't add any sweetener, but simply add a naturally sweet banana to the fruit mix.
8. Yogurt and Fruit Topped with Granola: Chop up an apple and some walnuts and top with plain live-culture yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Sprinkle with homemade or high quality store-bought granola. Serve. It's like having a fruit salad for breakfast.
9. Italian Breakfast Skewers: We adore this recipe. It does take more time, however, so do it on a less hectic morning. My 5-year-old loves them!
10. Black Bean and Egg Burrito: We love these for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are protein- and flavor-packed.
Parenting can take a lot of creativity and patience, and getting your children to eat well is no exception to that rule. Remember that it is a journey, especially if your child is used to super-sweet cereal. But with persistence, good food and kindness, you are sure to make headway in feeding your child nourishing food for breakfast.
Pick your sign
by Kimi Harris, Mother Nature Network