Whether or not your child eats breakfast can have a direct impact on his or her report card. Whether you’re home-schooling, remote learning or sending them off to school, we have some breakfast options for you.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body — and brain — needs a fresh supply of nutrients.
Dozens of studies have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don’t. In a recent study of 4,000 elementary school students, researchers measured the effects of eating breakfast by administering a battery of attention tests. Across the board, the breakfast eaters performed better than those children who had skipped breakfast.
But WHAT should they eat? It has to be quick (for mom), nutritious and not too expensive. That leaves out sugary cereals and pricey microwave meals.
So we’ve come up with some suggestions.
Shakes: Both of my kids went through a period where they would not eat breakfast. So I made them banana shakes. I put a whole banana (small to medium) in the blender with a cup of milk, a dash of vanilla and a few ice cubes. Sometimes I’d sneak in a tablespoonful of wheat germ. They drank it right down and at least they weren’t leaving the house on an empty stomach. Or mix up their favorite smoothie, if you have time.
Toast: Stock up on whole-grain bread, English muffins or bagels. Toast one and add peanut butter or any nut butter they like. Top with a few raisins or chopped nuts. Maybe even some sliced apple or pear. It’s a portable snack they can take on the school bus, if they’re running late.
Micro-scrambles: If your kids like eggs, scramble one or two, put it in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it for 30 seconds at a time till it’s cooked. These can be prepped the night before and, if you want to, adding some grated cheese, diced ham, minced peppers or mushrooms, whatever they like. The next morning, just stir, cover and cook.
Other eggs: One of my nieces loves deviled eggs, and if her mom makes them for dinner, she’ll eat the leftovers for breakfast. Some kids like hard-boiled eggs – and they’re also portable for kids on the go. Peel and put in a zip-lock bag with a sprinkle of salt, if they need it. If you have time, you can also make a quick egg muffin by toasting a whole-grain English muffin, then adding a scrambled egg and a slice of cheese on top. A breakfast sandwich to go is always a good thing.
Parfaits: Sounds fancy, but breakfast parfaits are a sure winner with kids. In a parfait glass (makes it more fun) ore clear drinking glass, layer a low-fat, low-sugar granola with their favorite yogurt. Throw in a few berries (blueberries, strawberries, whatever they like) or other fruit to make it more interesting. If mom is busy, kids can even make their own. No cooking needed.
Oatmeal: Don’t buy the flavored instant oatmeal; it’s full of sugar. Instead, get the plain style and add your own mix-ins – diced fruit, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts or toasted seeds (like sunflower or pumpkin). Adding your own sugar or brown sugar can result in way less than what comes in the flavored stuff.
Waffles and pancakes: No, I’m not crazy. I often make extras on the weekends, put them in small freezer bags, and take out what’s needed on a given morning. Pop them in the toaster to thaw, slather with peanut butter while warm, and you have a hearty breakfast. Opt for whole-grain, if you can. Works with French toast, too. Or just make extra (healthful) muffins on Sunday morning for a Monday morning quick breakfast to-go.
Leftovers: Pizza last night? A surprising number of kids will eat it leftover for breakfast (warm or cold). It’s got bread, meat and cheese and (we hope) veggies! Maybe you had chicken burritos? Grab a tortilla, some of that chicken meat and some cheese, roll it up and put it in the microwave for a breakfast burrito. Yes, you can add scrambled eggs if you have time. And don’t forget last night’s dessert. Apple (or peach or other fruit) crisp makes a great breakfast, as does apple pie.
Hey, it’s better than going to school on an empty stomach.