Breakfast for kids…the most important way to get them started right for the day. Did you know that sending your kids to school on a donut or sugar cereal can set them up for poor concentration, irritability and a complete sugar crash before they make it to the lunch hour?
Last night, my 8 year old daughter and I made a run to the grocery store for a couple of items that we needed for breakfast. She wanted to take a stroll down the cereal isle…not the one in the “health market” part of the store, but just the general cereal isle. She saw the boxes of Apple Jacks and started talking about how yummy they are. It was her lucky day as I took them off the shelf and decided to “school” her on the spot. I asked her to read the ingredients on the box. Immediately she looked for the sugar and protein content and she was excited to see that it contained 1 gram of protein and thought that was a good sign. I pointed her in the direction of the actual ingredients and again asked her to read. As she went down the line that started with sugar and ended on multiple artificial items and added coloring, I picked up the Udi’s granola out of my cart. I asked her to again, read the ingredients…oats, honey, canola oil, almonds…(aka…food). I showed her the box of Apple Jacks again and said, “What you are looking at in this box and the rest of the boxes in this aisle, is a CHEMICAL CRAP STORM”. She started laughing.
So maybe it wasn’t the most appropriate thing to tell my daughter, but it is true. She is the age where she has become aware that she eats differently than some kids. She used to complain and feel like she had pulled the short straw being dumped into my household. However, she is starting to understand and complain less. Habits and cravings start early and it is easy to just “give in”. I encourage you to fight the fight and keep pushing your child toward healthier choices. It is important to pick your battles and this is one worth fighting!
There are many great breakfast options for kids and I encourage you to get some protein and fiber in their bellies as they keep them fuller for longer. Here are a few ideas and I encourage you all to share your healthy, kid-friendly breakfasts in the comments!
• Protein Smoothie: Add ingredients such as a milk alternative, fruit, spinach/greens (high speed blenders will hide this ingredient and they never know it is there), UltraCare for Kids (good source of protein, dairy-free calcium and other nutrients), almond butter, Dynamic Greens vitamin powder, powder probiotic, etc. You can start basic and add one ingredient each day or each week.
• Udi’s Granola: This granola is a great option when time is short in the morning. It has a decent amount of protein and fiber and it can be served with homemade or store-bought almond, rice or coconut milk (watch for carrageenan in the ingredients and avoid). You can also serve it over plain Greek yogurt with some fresh berries if your child is not dairy sensitive. Homemade granola (as long as it doesn’t have sugar added) is another great option.
• Eggs and Avocado: This sounds like a stretch and maybe it is for some! I can get away with the avocado (You can also add to smoothies for a thicker texture) but my daughter has simply grown sick of eggs. This is why variety is key!
• Fruit. This one is easy but it is important to also include protein to keep their tummy full.
• Nut butters. Almond butter, cashew butter and peanut butter are all good options to serve on gluten-free toast or celery sticks (add a few raisins on top and it brings me back to my childhood treat of “Ants on a Log”). For nut-sensitive children, sunflower seed butter is a good option.
• Homemade overnight oats or Overnight Chia puddings. Some of my favorites can be found on mywholefoodlife.com. You can made these ahead of time and just grab and go in the morning!
There are other options but I would like to hear from you! Please share your triumphs in the kitchen and it is important to remember that you should NOT force your child to eat something they hate. I have found success in introducing on multiple occasions and eventually, I usually win her over on 3 out of the 4 foods. There are a few foods that I don’t like and our kids will experience the same! By Heather Elton, DC, DACBN
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Hi, I'm Dr. Heidi!
A mom of 3, pediatric chiropractor, natural remedy guru and wellness educator.