It is so easy to throw cereal in a bowl, and drench it with milk: it makes for quite the happy munchkin in the morning. Kids love cereal and parents love the convenience of it. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in cereal? How about the nutritional value? Cereal is not the best thing to be feeding our munchkins to fuel them for a long, active day.
I am just as guilty as anyone else as my toddler loves her cereal and I love the ease of it. Making eggs or healthy pancakes in the morning can be extremely tedious. When I do buy and serve cereal I make sure I am doing two things: 1. buying cereal with minimal sugar & ingredients and 2. I am also serving a fruit with breakfast. Fruit with breakfast is sort of an unwritten rule in our house.
There are so many better options out there than cereal for breakfast, but what to make isn’t usually the problem. For our family, and for most, is usually finding the time. Mornings are hectic, I know. Serving a healthy breakfast beyond cereal can be done, but takes planning and prep- you can do it. Here are some simple, quick ways to make those healthy breakfasts possible in your home.
1. Eggs: I know you are thinking, “I don’t have time to stand by the stove and watch the eggs cook or take several different egg orders in the morning.” No fear, put this egg muffin recipe on your list for meal prep. Make a huge batch, freeze some and put the rest in the refrigerator and heat them up in the morning and serve alongside some fruit. Everyone will love these, and they can be personalized for everyone’s liking. My husband prefers sausage, cheese and spinach in his; C likes cheese and more cheese, but I hide spinach in there; and I prefer egg whites with peppers and spinach.
2. Oatmeal: First of all, I am talking real oatmeal, not that quick, flavored stuff with too much sugar. Make a big batch of oatmeal for the week on Sunday, scoop it out each day and change up your toppings for a quick, filling breakfast. You can also make overnight oats: check out some overnight oat recipes from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.
3. Smoothie: Smoothies are an awesome “take with you” breakfast. They might take a little longer in the morning, but once you get the hang of it, you will be whipping up “smoothies to go” in no time for the whole family. When I was a working mom, I would put all of the ingredients in the blender the night before and put in the refrigerator. Then in the morning, all I would have to do was add ice.
4. Pancakes: My munchkin loves her pancakes and I despise making them! About once a month I make a huge batch of pancakes and freeze them. I put 2 pancakes in each ziplock bag and freeze in a larger freezer bag. When she requests pancakes for breakfast it is so easy for me to grab them out of the freezer and pop in the toaster. Top with some fruit and nut butter and you have a healthy breakfast option. My go-to store bought pancake mixes are Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Pancake Mix & Log Cabin’s All Natural Mix.
5. Homemade Breakfast Bars: As a 2015 goal we have tried to cut down the amount of processed food we eat in our house. With this goal, we eliminated the number of store bought granola bars we purchase. Another part of my Sunday meal prep is making a pan or two of these awesome Quinoa Breakfast Bars. After I make them I store them in the refrigerator for an easy grab-n-go breakfast. Of course, if you have one of these for breakfast, you have to have a piece of fruit as the “rule” too.
Although cereal is better than pop tarts or muffins, try to nourish your munchkins with something healthier. Next time you go to the store, grab some of these breakfast staples and try a healthier option for your kids (or yourself) in the morning. Take some time on Sunday and do a little breakfast prep work to make breakfast time easier, quicker and healthier. And don’t forget that rule: always fruit with breakfast.