Ah, morning time. The birds are singing, the sun is shining and everyone wakes up happy, in good moods and never, ever rushed or stressed. Wake up… you’re still asleep and dreaming!
If you live in a home with a child, chances are there is never enough time in the morning. You set your alarm a little earlier. You anticipate and plan a little more. But when it comes down to it, very few people are in love with the morning.
You might be feeling sluggish or need quiet (which you likely won’t get with kids around). And even though you feel sluggish, there isn’t time for them (or you) to ACT sluggish. You’re rushing and chiding, asking them to get dressed for the millionth time or on a hunt for a missing shoe that didn’t quite get put away where it was supposed to last night.
And while you know that proper, whole food nutrition is important for helping your school-aged child focus, who has time to make (much less sit down and eat) a healthy protein breakfast?
So, you allow them to eat whatever passes as a marketed breakfast food… it’s at least one less battle for the day. Ready to break that cycle in 2020? Let’s talk.
What Makes a Healthy Breakfast?
Kids, much like adults, need a balanced meal to start their day, keep their bellies full, and their minds focused. We’ve long been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Kristi King, senior pediatric dietician at the Texas Children’s Hospital, notes, “Feeding your children a healthy breakfast provides their brains with the nutrition they need to pay attention and learn. Making sure they eat well in the morning helps set them up for success.”
But what exactly entails a healthy breakfast? Too much sugar leads to hyperactivity and a crash midmorning, both which contribute to a lack of focus and excessive fidgeting. Instead of reaching for a processed cereal or bar, aim for lean protein and fiber to make up the bulk of their breakfast. King continues, “The combination will help your child feel full and help sustain blood sugar levels so he or she can concentrate better and have more energy.”
Quick Breakfast Options
The best breakfast to feed your child is the one they’ll eat… with your approval. Just as we enjoy having a modicum of control in our lives, children want a say as well. Get them involved. Give them a few acceptable breakfast choices that fit into the time frame and health plan for your morning.
If you invite your child into decision-making for their health and nutrition needs, you’re removing the battle over what to eat, as well as building the foundation for lifelong healthy choices. Some quick kid-friendly, protein-rich breakfasts include:
- Smoothies. Using Greek yogurt and whole fruits (instead of fruit juice) provides fiber and protein. Add nut butter for an additional boost of protein. Reach for honey or a banana as a natural sweetener. Best of all, this can be prepped the night before. And if there are leftovers? It’s either tomorrow’s breakfast, the grown-ups breakfast or a great after-school snack.
- Overnight Oats. Mix the oats and milk in a jar and let it set overnight. In the morning, just stir, microwave and add mix-ins, like cinnamon or raisins.
- Go Unconventional. Who actually decided what constitutes a breakfast food? And if we can have breakfast for dinner, why can’t we have dinner for breakfast? If your child will eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich on whole wheat bread, go for it! Leftover veggie and quinoa soup from last night? Yes, please! Remember, the nutritional components are the important part of breakfast.
- Ready-to-go Breakfasts. Some days, no matter how much planning, you just find yourself running behind. Or nothing else sounds good. Keep a handy supply of healthy to-go breakfasts like Kid’s Brain Focus Bars. These delicious on-the-go bars are specifically balanced with ideal levels of fiber and protein to fuel your child’s brain with focused energy.
Breakfast for the Win
Healthy nutrition is crucial to learning and behavior. Setting your child up to have a successful day while keeping the peace starts with a balanced breakfast on which everyone can agree. And sometimes it takes a little planning, whether it’s prepping the night before or keeping something on hand you know they’ll enjoy eating.