You try to be mindful of what you are feeding your children, but come breakfast time it is easy to fall into a rut.
Time to take a break from the norm, switch it up a bit and be a superhero all with a simple switch. Really!
If you walk down any breakfast isle in your local grocery store, you will see plenty of time saving, pseudo-nutritious items in row after row of colorful boxes. I am sure it’s not a mistake that the most sugar-laden boxes are right at kid level. If you are consciously trying to make an effort to get your family’s health on track, you must resist the temptation to go for the quick and easy.
FACT: According to a report conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it found that among some of the more popular children’s’ breakfast cereals – a 1 cup serving often contained more sugar than 3 chocolate chip cookies! Yes, THREE. If you were to ask any child if they would rather have a bowl of cereal or chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk – I think you know the answer.
Making a nutritious breakfast isn’t that much harder to do but will definitely make a greater impact on your children (and you) during the day. For a growing child with lightning speed metabolism, a bowl of cereal with milk dumped in it is not an effective way to fuel their demand for energy. Even the fortified, whole grains, granola or oats packed with vitamin A and Iron variety are all highly processed turning into sugars almost instantaneously as it’s digested. Two hours later they will crash from the sugar load and be mentally sluggish until lunch – not quite following your intentions for giving them a good start to the day.
The traditional hearty American breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast and a glass of orange juice although great at a diner on the weekends (or after a long night out if you can remember THOSE days) fill you up with more than 2 – 3 times the recommended daily upper limit for added sugar.
Yes, you may argue that it has eggs, milk and ‘grains’ (which is questionable). And true, this breakfast has more protein than just cereal. It is unfortunately chock full of refined grains like wheat flour, which contribute to insulin resistance and obesity.
Let’s not forget that no one forgoes adding some type of syrup to an already sugary cake. You can try and fool yourself with agave, honey, pure maple syrup or even some type of organic fruit compote but in the end you know the real truth – it’s still sugar.
OK, Smarty Pants, what should I be feeding my kids?
This is going to perhaps shake up how YOU think about breakfast, more than your kids. You have to look past your concept of what breakfast should look like and see it for what it is. You body’s first fuel of the day.
A couple key items to keep in mind…Sandwiches; Eggs & Popsicle sticks – not necessarily in that order.
- Breakfast Popsicles – You will love this simple recipe and kids LOVE popsicles. Click here to get some ideas recipe.
- Apple Sandwiches – Switch from cutting your apples into wedges and try cutting them crosswise and you have yourself wonderful apple wheels that double as slices like bread. You can top them with any number of items. Our household loves the peanut butter and granola mix, but you can add hummus or any type of spread to these tasty little sandwiches. Try Pears in the same fashion – totally yum!
- Breakfast Banana Pops – It’s as simple as cutting a peeled banana in half and then rolling it in granola, coconut shreds, raisins or any other item – even mini chocolate chips. BONUS: it’s great for dipping into yogurt. Trust me, your kids will love it! Anything on a stick, right?
- Egg in a pepper – If you haven’t already seen this on your Instagram feed, it’s really easy along with being very colorful and fun. Just cut a bell pepper into slices so that you can utilize that lovely flower-like shape. Place them in a hot pan with your favorite oil. Then, break an egg into the center of the pepper slowly so that it doesn’t run out from underneath. Cook until you get the desired consistence of egg. Add a little salt, pepper and even some fresh herbs and DONE.
- Open-Faced Sandwiches – There are so many combinations available to you for this. Just select your bread of choice whether it’s gluten-free, whole wheat or 9-grain. It all works.
Here are a few combos for you:
- Egg, tomato and cheese
- Cottage cheese and berries (even better with a little honey)
- Smashed avocado, mozzarella cheese and basil
- Peanut butter, bananas and coconut shred
- Cream cheese, ham and tomatoes
Where is the chocolate? You may be wondering.
Let’s talk Nutella.
Although I’d love to pitch you on the benefits of this tasty hazelnut spread, it’s just not that good for you or your child. Here is the main reason why.
You can argue that it has key vitamins and minerals and even push the fiber content, but the sugar content in only 2 tablespoons is 21 grams! Not to mention that the second main ingredient is palm oil – a saturated fat.
If you happen to have any around, try measuring out exactly 2 tablespoons – enough to spread across your slice of white refined flour toast? No?!
Hmmm. It’s a bummer, but please avoid giving this to your child or yourself if you want to maintain your health goals.
Don’t despair though, chocolate is NOT completely off the table.
We just discovered a real treat – Dark Chocolate Hommus from Cedar’s
Hommus? Yes, hummus! And it’s Gooooood!
Not only is it tasty, it’s only 80 calories for those 2 tablespoons unlike Nutella, which tops off at 200. It’s non-GMO, Gluten-free, certified vegan and contains no dairy, also, only 7 grams of sugar. It really is a must try!
We’ve been having open-faced banana sandwiches with the dark chocolate spread. It’s been amazing to not have my kids ask for snack midway through the morning. What am I going to do with all this extra free time? (smirk)
The next time you get asked what’s for breakfast, you can now flip breakfast on it’s head and try out some ‘lunchy’ type meals that are sure to impress – plus chocolate! Win – Win.