Finding time to make the kids’ breakfast – not to mention getting them to eat it – can be a struggle. Hey, don’t worry grandparents, the good news is that you don’t have to prepare a 6-course meal, nor act like a short order cook! To get those kids going, you just need to make sure they get foods that will provide a dose of energy and at least a few essential nutrients. Here are some suggestions to give them what they need.
No time to linger: Breakfast in seconds
Granola bars. Loaded with fiber from whole grains, granola bars are a great source of energy in the form of carbohydrates. Studies show that children are mentally sharper when they’ve eaten something, and brain cells need a constant supply of carbohydrates. Watch out for granola bars that are more like candy bars. Choose varieties that are lower in sugar.
Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. Whole grain bagels, such as whole wheat and rye, have more fiber than plain or seeded varieties. Peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter) is a great source of protein, and most of the good fats in the “natural” varieties helps keep arteries healthy. At many markets, you can even make your own peanut butter.
Oat bran muffin or rice cake. With more fiber and less fat than a typical blueberry muffin, oat bran muffins provide surprising amounts of potassium and magnesium. Top the muffin or rice cake with sliced avocado, sliced bananas, or nut butter.
Fruit. Apples are not only refreshing, but also high in fiber. Bananas top other fresh fruits as a source of potassium, a mineral that kids lose during physical activity. Fruit staves off a midmorning slump by regulating your child’s blood sugar level. Add some nut butter on to the plate for dipping.
Eat and run: Nutritious two-minute meals
Very berry smoothie. Blend 1/2 cup of your favorite milk (such as almond, cashew, or oat) with half a frozen banana and a handful of frozen berries, which are exceptionally rich in antioxidants (substances that combat cancerous changes in cells). To adjust consistency, add more berries. You can also substitute frozen mangoes for the banana.
Fruit salad. Prepare a big fruit salad the night before that you can serve for the next couple of days. Add a dollop of yogurt to each serving for extra protein and calcium. Top with chia seeds that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in antioxidants.
Orange-banana smoothie. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, low-fat yogurt, and half a frozen banana are all you need to whip up a taste treat that’s high in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and calcium. Remember to limit juice: Experts recommend that children drink no more than 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of fruit juice a day. Half a banana plus 1/2 cup of fruit juice already meets the recommended daily intake of fruit for your preschooler, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Toaster treats. Frozen waffles take almost no time to prepare. Choose whole grain varieties for a dose of fiber, and top them with berries or sliced bananas instead of syrup.