5 Healthy, Easy-to-Make Breakfast Ideas for Kids!

We’re writing one more blog dedicated to parents and their children!

How many times have we been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Yet, it can be difficult to find nutritious, low sugar options for breakfast that children enjoy. We’ve pulled together some ideas for you to try in order to get those mornings off to a happy start.

It’s incredible how most kids’ breakfast foods contain massive amounts of refined sugar. The meal ideas we suggest do have sweeteners, but are way healthier than those Frosted Flakes or Pop-Tarts. Not to mention — these ideas are tasty, too!

1. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies (use fruit, yogurt, and either milk or 100% fruit juice). Who doesn’t love a good breakfast smoothie? Here are a few of our smoothie ideas. Another great one (and simple) that kids love, and can even help you make, is this banana berry smoothie. Also, be sure to sneak in some extra nutrients by adding spinach to those smoothies! With its neutral taste and blender friendliness, spinach makes an excellent smoothie ingredient.

2. Homemade Whole Grain Muffins that can be sweetened with fruit and honey or even a touch of maple syrup. We love these Toddler Muffins that can also double as a healthy lunch or snack. Another one to try are these Yogurt Muffins. This muffin recipe is packed with nutritious ingredients such as carrots, apple, greek yogurt, and oats.

3. Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes or Waffles. Don’t scroll by this one! We know what you’re thinking… pancakes and waffles from scratch are time consuming. Yet, hear us out — they only require a few ingredients, you have control over what goes in them, and you can make a huge batch at once and freeze the extras for the weekday meals. Encourage your child to eat them plain with maybe a little butter melted on top. Or maybe add a few drops of honey and spread with nut butter, or top with fruit. This Healthy Banana Pancakes recipe has only have four ingredients and is delicious!

4. Breakfast Sandwiches. Say no to the drive-thru! Here’s another idea you can make in advance and freeze. Then when you need a tasty breakfast for your on-the-go child, just pop them in the microwave. Whole wheat english muffins or toast, plus egg, turkey bacon, and cheese is what we like best. Here are a few other recipes your kids might like.

5. Plain Oatmeal flavored with Peanut Butter and Bananas. Sure, plain oatmeal is boring. BUT if you add peanut butter, things liven up quickly. Feel free to sprinkle in some cinnamon or add a drizzle of honey. If your kids can’t get on board with plain oatmeal and love the microwaved flavored instant oatmeal packets instead — try stirring in some plain oats as well to dilute some of the sugar content. Gradually, add more and more plain oats until your kids no longer crave the sweetened version.

In conclusion
Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar has been linked to improved kids’ attention span, concentration, and memory. Also, if you do choose to go the cereal route, make sure you select a cereal with 5 grams of sugar per serving or less. Cereals we suggest are Kix, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Crispix, Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal. Be sure to add fruit and a milk or milk alternative to those low-sugar cereal bowls as well.

5 Milk Alternatives for Your Child

Having your child diagnosed as lactose intolerant can be tough. Especially since dairy is such a valuable part of a balanced diet. We get most of our calcium and vitamin D from dairy products — which are essential to bone growth. Milk is also packed with other nutrients such as protein and potassium making it excellent for those young, growing bodies.
The good news for parents is there are several wonderful milk alternatives that leave the lactose and allergens behind while offering essentially the same nutrients contained in milk. It is unlikely you’ll find an option with the same amount of protein as milk, but still try to select varieties that contain around four to nine grams of protein per cup.(1) Also, you want to stay clear of varieties with added sugars in the ingredients such as corn syrup, cane juice, or words ending in “-ose.”

So if you’re looking for a healthy milk substitute for your child that still tastes great, here are 5 milk alternatives:

1. Lactose-Free Milk
Lactose-free milk contains an enzyme to help breakdown the lactose in milk. Aside from that, it’s essentially the same milk your family has always enjoyed. Thus, before considering other milk substitutes, try starting with lactose-free milk. Lactose-free might be your best solution if your child doesn’t have a milk protein allergy. Also, lactose-free milk is virtually indistinguishable from regular cow’s milk and contains the same amount of fat, protein, carbohydrate, and caloric content. This option also matches “regular” milk’s calcium and vitamin D.(2)

2. Soy milk
Since soy milk’s nutritional content closely resembles that of cow milk, this soy-based option has been used as a milk substitute for years. Also, most soy milk brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D making it a great milk alternative.(3) But be careful when choosing a soy milk brand because not every brand included extra fortification. Double check the ingredient list and make sure there are no added sugars and flavors.

3. Almond Milk
Over the last few years, almond milk has become a really popular milk alternative. As with soy milk, most brands fortify the milk with calcium and vitamin D. The only drawback is almond milk has less protein and saturated fat than cow’s milk.(4) Yet, as long as your child is getting enough protein and saturated fat from other sources, then this can be a great choice. Also, as with soy milk — be sure to check for any added sugars and flavors.

4. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has many positive attributes making it a true contender for your child’s milk substitute. Coconut milk is rich and creamy, and provides as much saturated fat as whole cow’s milk — which is very important for toddlers. The milk also contains 30 percent of your daily value of vitamin D and 50 percent of your daily value of vitamin B12.(5) The caveat with coconut milk, however, is it falls short of matching cow milk’s calcium and protein per cup. Thus, if you opt for coconut milk for your child, you will have to make up for those nutrients in other ways.

5. Rice Milk
The biggest benefit of rice milk is it is extremely non-allergenic and has a neutral taste. Though parents should understand that rice milk is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and fat than cow’s milk.(6) If your child has a significant amount of dietary allergies, this might be the right choice for you. If not, coconut, soy, and almond milk are recommended over this.

In conclusion
Overall, these alternatives can be used just as you would regular cow’s milk. Your child can drink them straight from a cup, poured over cereal, or added to smoothies. Though, we only recommend soy milk as a substitute when baking.

In addition, to keep your little one free of the unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms that come along with lactose intolerance, make sure everybody in your child’s life, from teacher to babysitter, knows that dairy products can upset his or her stomach. And if your child is younger than two-years-old, make sure to consult with your pediatrician regarding what his or her right option might be — often fortified formula might be best alternative for the very young.

Sources:
1) https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-protein-milk-have-5319.html
2) https://www.nutritionix.com/food/lactose-free-milk/1-cup
3) https://www.livestrong.com/article/430019-is-silk-soy-milk-good-or-bad-for-you
4) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/almond-milk-health-benefits#section9
5) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323743.php
6) https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2458525/2?print=true