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Wednesday
Aug242011

Back-to-School Breakfasts

Written by: Anika Christ, RD, CISSN, CPT - Life Time Fitness

The summer days are dwindling fast and before your kids know it, the school bell will be kicking off long days of new educational challenges. It reminds parents of how crazy and stressful those school mornings can be — especially when trying to start your child’s morning off right with a good breakfast.  But don’t give into those toaster pastries or sweet cereals; they are convenient to prepare but just as fast to spike and crash your child’s energy. Try some of the breakfast options listed here. They will cater to both your a.m. time crunch and give your student the quality nutrition he or she needs to stay alert and to learn. 

Breakfast builder

When putting together breakfasts for your child, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Keep the nutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) balanced to help ensure your child’s energy stays balanced. Fewer energy crashes mean more attention capacity. Having a balanced breakfast will also keep your child fuller longer — and not distracted by hunger pangs midmorning. 

Key components to every breakfast should include:

  • Quality protein (eggs, Canadian bacon, Greek yogurt, whey protein)
  • Carbohydrates (raw oats, whole wheat bread)
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy fat (nuts, seeds, nut butter, oils, organic butter)

Breakfast picks

Below are five different options for the first week of school. Make modifications or substitutions when necessary, according to your child’s taste preferences. Each option uses a different form of preparation and can be your go-to for fast options or as regular breakfasts all year long. Any one of these guarantees an excellent start to the day, but don’t forget a multivitamin and fish oil!

1. Blender pick:  Breakfast smoothie

Smoothies in the morning can become a family favorite. They are quick and easy to make and have multiple variations for taste preferences.  Have your child help by letting them choose the fruit that goes in.  Make the single serving listed below or batch it for the entire family.

  • 8 ounces milk/milk alternative
  • 1 tablespoon natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
  • 1 cup of fruit
  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder

Blend all ingredients together with desired amount of ice for thickness. 

2. Weekend prep pick:  Energy bar

Making these natural, nutrient-dense energy bars on the weekend can be a great solution for those rushed mornings.  Much different than most granola or cereal bars on the market, these are loaded with whole, natural ingredients that taste great and are easy to cut in the morning when you’re on the go. 

  • 2 1/2 cups of raw oats
  • 3 scoops of whey protein powder, vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup organic honey
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chopped almonds
  • ¼-cup dried fruit, chopped

Mix the oats, protein powder, flaxseed, honey, applesauce, baking soda, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Press the mixture into a pre-sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 325°F for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into 12 bars. Don’t forget to let your kids assist — they love to get their hands involved, so you might give them the task of mashing the ingredients into the cookie sheet.

3.  Oven-lighter pick:  Egg scramble

Eggs are loaded with protein and can be a great, quick-cook option in the morning.  A scramble can take mere minutes and is perfect to warm and fill a belly on cool fall mornings. Use thawed, frozen vegetable mixes for scramble to save more time in the morning.

  • 1-2 cage-free eggs
  • 1 cup of precut vegetables
  • 1 ounce of natural cheese, mozzarella
  • 1 cup of fruit
  • 1 teaspoon organic butter (for cooking)

Scramble vegetables, eggs and cheese over a medium-high heat until fully cooked.  Serve with berries or other fruit on the side. 

4.  No-appliance-needed pick:  Banana chocolate parfait

These parfaits literally need no prep and can be a fun food for any child to eat.  Your child can help prepare by layering the ingredients, parfait style. The parfait also allows for several variations for the fruit and nuts!

  • 4 ounces of plain Greek yogurt, full fat
  • ½ scoop of whey protein powder, chocolate
  • 1 cup of sliced banana
  • ¼-cup dry oats
  • ¼-cup diced pecans

Mix protein powder into Greek yogurt first. In a glass container or cup, layer 2 ounces of yogurt mixture, 1/8-cup of dry oats, 1/8-cup of diced pecans, and ½-cup of sliced banana. Repeat layer.  

5. Meal replacement pick:  Fast Fuel Complete

This pick is the fasted to prepare of them all.  Fast Fuel Complete is an actual meal replacement with a quality nutrient profile.  Much different than the other “instant breakfasts’” on the market, Fast Fuel is naturally sweetened and not loaded with sugar. It’s an easy solution for the student who’d rather drink something than eat something in the morning — or when breakfast may have to be in the car!

  • 2-3 scoops of Fast Fuel Complete powder
  • 8-12 ounces of milk/milk alternative

Scoop powder into a shaker cup along with liquid. Shake until fully blended. 

Grocery list:

Meat/dairy

Produce

  • Fresh or frozen Berries
  • Bananas
  • Fresh or frozen precut vegetables

Bulk

  • Raw oats
  • Dried cranberries (sulfate free)
  • Chopped/diced nuts (pecans, almonds, cashews)

Grocery

  • Nut butter, all natural (cashew, almond or peanut)
  • Cinnamon
  • Flaxseed, ground
  • Honey, organic
  • Applesauce, unsweetened
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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Reader Comments (6)

This couldn't have come at a better time, I have 10 year old who suffers from migraines and the Dr. just told us today to amp up his breakfast, thank you for these ideas.

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Shelton

These ideas sound good but honestly I would have a hard time getting my kids to eat most of them; chopped nuts and dried fruits just not going to happen. I can get them to eat scrambled eggs but definitely not with veggies in it!!
I am struggling with healthy breakfast so would love more ideas. Are there maybe some healthy waffles or cereals you might recommend?

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Melinda, my son likes the Central Market frozen waffles - some varieties are organic - they have blueberry-buckwheat, whole wheat-flax, multigrain and so on. HEB sells them too. Good protein-to-carb ratio and you can serve them with applesauce, raw honey, real maple syrup, blackstrap molasses (an acquired taste, but kids are pretty good at acquiring tastes in my experience), or even yogurt on top.

For cereals, I like the Heritage Grains by Nature's Path, Sunflower Market sells them in a big economy-sized bag or in bulk. It's quinoa, amaranth, millet, and a few other grains my kid just isn't getting anywhere else. I mix it with a good granola that I find in the bulk section and it turns out to be more economical and more filling than most prepared cereals. In the winter, it's steel-cut oats with different things on top - chopped dates are a big hit - or cinnamon, cream, a little brown sugar, or thaw out some frozen berries.

Hope it helps.
Stephanie

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Sorry Melinda, it just occurred to me that you aren't necessarily in my local area, so never mind what I said about which stores to shop. I hope the info will be of some use anyway.
Stephanie

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Melinda, I would make your own waffles. I have a high protein, gluten-free recipe that both my boys enjoy! You'll have to cut and paste this link into a new browser window: http://www.healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2011/09/name-the-movie.html
I don't believe in sending your kids off to school with a grain/carbohydrate based breakfast like cereal or waffles with syrup. It all breaks down to sugar in the body.

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

IT WOULD REALLY BE NICE TO HAVE THE CALORIES LISTED FOR THE MENUS SUGGESTED

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKARLA

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