Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Have trouble getting your kids to slow down and eat a healthy breakfast? Here's help on how to satisfy even the pickiest eater.

By Jane Schwartz Harrison, RD, Staff Nutritionist, myOptumHealth

Getting your child's day off to a good start can be a tough task. But kids who enjoy breakfast tend to eat healthier overall, and are more likely to be physically active. Breakfast can also keep their weight in check, help with concentration and keep them from feeling tired and irritable.

Short on ideas? A healthy breakfast should include a combination of protein, fiber-filled carbohydrates and healthy fats. Try to steer clear of sugar-filled breakfast pastries and sweetened cereals that offer little in the way of fiber or nutrition.

Check out these breakfast suggestions to please the whole family:

Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and skim or low-fat milk. Choose cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 8 grams of sugar.

  • Add fresh fruit (berries, banana, peaches) to get in a fruit serving at breakfast.
  • Add raisins or dried cranberries for natural sweetness.
  • Toss in a small handful of slivered almonds or chopped walnuts for some healthy fat and protein.

Hot oatmeal made with skim or low-fat milk for a creamier taste and added dose of protein. Make it even more interesting by adding one of the following:

  • Add wheat germ plus a serving of nuts.
  • Stir in a tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of raisins and sliced banana.
  • Sweeten oatmeal with a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar.

Low-fat yogurt is smooth and creamy and offers protein and calcium.

  • Choose yogurts with no high-fructose corn syrup. Try mixing plain and flavored to cut back on sugar.
  • Add wheat germ or nuts for crunch if desired.
  • Make a parfait by layering yogurt, fruit, low-sugar granola or cereal.

Nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese is packed with protein and delicious topped with:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Individually packed fruit cups (no added sugar)
  • Granola or trail mix
  • Chopped nuts

Whole-wheat raisin toast, wheat bread or English muffin with:

  • Low-fat cottage cheese sprinkled with walnuts or mixed with jam
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and jam
  • Low-fat cream cheese and jam
  • Sliced avocado and tomato

Whole-grain waffles can offer a dose of fiber without a lot of sugar. Look for 100 percent whole-grain brands in the frozen food case at your supermarket. Just pop one in the toaster and serve with your choice of:

  • A drizzle of maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit
  • Slivered almonds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Yogurt or cottage cheese

Eggs are a great source of protein and are also quick and easy to prepare. Serve them scrambled, over-easy or hardboiled.

  • Pair with whole-wheat toast or a whole-wheat English muffin.
  • For kids who like omelets, make them with their favorite vegetables and/or a sprinkle of low-fat cheese.

Smoothies are always fun for breakfast and a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into one glass. Create your own using fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat skim or soy milk or yogurt, silken tofu, natural peanut butter and ground flax seeds. Try one of the following recipes:

  • Banana nut
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 T natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup of skim or vanilla soy milk
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt
  • Blend and serve! Add ice if needed.
  •  
  • Strawberry peach delight
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 2 to 4 T of protein powder or silken tofu
  • Blend and serve!

Time-savers
Short on time? Don't use that as an excuse to let the kids skip breakfast.

  • Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy breakfast options so you have plenty to choose from when you are rushed.
  • Prepare the night before (get dishes and utensils ready, cut up fruit, etc.).
  • Wake everyone up 10 minutes earlier.
  • Let your kids help plan and prepare breakfast.
  • Have grab-and-go alternatives, such as fresh fruit and a handful of nuts; containers of yogurt or cottage cheese; a banana wrapped in tortilla spread with peanut butter; a low-sugar granola bar; a peach and a glass of milk.

Sources:

  • Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O'Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:869-878.
  • American Dietetic Association. Be sure kids have a good breakfast. Accessed: 07/20/2010

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