Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I’m not a morning person, however, so hearty breakfasts are not the norm in my house on busy weekday mornings. Most days my kids eat cereal with milk, or toast with peanut butter, with a glass of orange juice before they head to school.
But what about those occasional days when a child doesn’t have time to eat? Whether it’s due to sleeping in late, dawdling or I can’t find my homework!, it can be frustrating, to say the least.
Apparently, it happens more than you’d think in homes across Canada.
A Healthy Breakfast Helps Kids Learn
Because of the chaos associated with mornings, 1 in 3 elementary kids – and 2 in 3 high school kids – don’t eat breakfast. That means they’re going to school hungry, which research has shown impacts their ability to learn. School breakfast programs can be a big help to make sure kids are fuelled for the day. In fact, President’s Choice Children’s Charity aims to fight childhood hunger through the support of school nutrition programs in every province, to help as many children as possible.
As a Mom, I know the importance of teaching my kids to be independent. That means making their own choices, even if I sometimes don’t agree with them. So, when my tween wakes up late and doesn’t have time for breakfast, I hope that she’ll learn to be more prudent next time. But, I also want to help set my kids up for success in the morning. So, I met with Loblaws Registered Dietitian, Hana Klimczak, to create a game plan that will ensure my kids get the healthy energy they need, even on days when they’re running late.
Here are some ideas from my consultation that I think will work for my family – and they might work for yours, too!
Make Take Anywhere Breakfasts Ahead of Time
- Breakfast burritos – eggs, cheese, veggies rolled in a tortilla. Store them in the refrigerator and warm them in the microwave for breakfast-on-the-go.
- Yogurt parfait – fill reusable glass or plastic containers with plain yogurt, low-sugar granola and berries. Drizzle maple syrup on top for a bit of sweetness.
- Bagels, or bagel thins, with cream cheese, cheese and apple or tomato – thins toast up quickly and are easy to eat on the walk (or drive) to school.
- Homemade muffins – pop them in the freezer; defrost when you need them.
- Hard boiled eggs – make a bunch and store them in the fridge up to a few days.
- Slow cooker oatmeal – put everything in the slow cooker right before bedtime, and it will be ready when you wake up! Try these suggestions to dress it up (per 1 cup of prepared oats):
- Strawberries & cream – ½ c. chopped berries, 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Island Dream – ¼ c. chopped pineapple, 1 tbsp. shredded coconut, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ½ c. coconut milk
- Apple pie – ½ c. chopped apple (cooked), ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cloves and pecans
- Peanut Butter & Jelly – 1/3 c. vanilla protein powder, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. peanut or almond butter, 1 tbsp. jam
- Peanut butter chocolate – 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, ½ c. chocolate-flavoured almond milk, sweetener (optional)
- Crunchy & chewy – 1 tsp. dried cranberries, 1 tsp. raisins, 1 tsp. apricots, 1 tsp. shredded coconut, 1 tsp. chopped nuts, 1 tsp. ground flaxseed
- Pumpkin pie – 3 tbsp. canned pumpkin, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tbsp. chopped pecans, sweetener (optional)
- Mocha – ½ c. brewed coffee, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, sweetener (optional)
Stock Up on Wholesome Grab-and-Go Items
I like these options:
- Cheese strings (100% cheese)
- Low-sugar yogurt cups; Greek style is high in protein
- Pre-cut fruit (apple slices, etc)
- Fiber bars that contain whole grains and are low in sugar
- Kefir is chock full of protein, calcium and is a probiotic (read all the benefits of kefir here)
Tip: I look for yogurt and pre-cut fruit and veggies that have been reduced for quick sale. My family eats these things quickly, so it makes sense to save some money where I can. I also like to save by planning out breakfasts in advance, taking advantage of weekly specials.
Simple Dietary Guidelines for a Healthy Breakfast (or snack)
- Bread: aim for 2g of fibre per slice, whole grains as first ingredient; 5% of salt daily intake or less is the goal
- Cereal: first ingredient is whole grain; 4 or more g of fibre; 8g or less of sugar
- Packaged snacks: 5 g or less of sugar and 100 calories or less; high in fibre, if possible
Breakfast is important, even on the go!
Planning is key, so get kids involved by giving them choices and letting them help create the menu. A Loblaws in-store Registered Dietitian can assist with healthy meal ideas and more. If you’d like to book a one-on-one consultation, store tour, cooking demo, or inquire about cooking classes for parents and children, stop by in-store or go to loblaws.ca/dietitians, and mention Fab Frugal Mama when you make your appointment.
What are your favourite easy, healthy breakfast options?
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Loblaws. As always, all opinions are my own.