Instead of skipping breakfast, give your kids one of these healthy breakfasts to get out the door on rushed mornings – no recipes needed!
This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. I only work with brands and organizations that I believe in and as always all opinions are my own. This page also contains affiliate links. See below for full disclosure statement.
Mornings are hectic in my house and based on the conversations I have with other moms I know I’m not alone.
No matter how early I set my alarm, it is a constant race to get my girls to the bus stop on time (which is 7:34 am now 7:23 am, in case you’re wondering). That’s even with setting out their clothes and having snacks and lunch packed at night before they go to bed. Somehow time just goes by super fast in the morning.
It’s no surprise that up to 26 percent of school-age kids skip breakfast. Lack of hunger so early in the day is one reason, but based on my unscientific survey of parents, lack of time and rushing to get out the door is the main culprit.
I have previously shared the benefits of breakfast, but it’s worth repeating that children who eat breakfast do better in school and have improved memory, test grades, school attendance, and moods. There are studies to back this up!
Healthy Breakfasts to Get Out the Door
So how do we solve this dilemma of hectic mornings and the need to get a healthy, balanced breakfast in our kids before they head off to school?
Today I’m sharing five healthy breakfasts to get out the door in the morning. You won’t need to fuss with your stove or oven, minimal if any advanced prep is needed, and some of these options your kids can even grab as they’re heading out the door. The best part: there are no recipes to follow. Trust me, these ideas work – they are the top five breakfasts my kids eat on a daily basis!
Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts and my girls love it too. I often make a baked oatmeal over the weekend for the school week and sometimes I’ll remember to prep overnight oats at night before I go to sleep, but let’s be honest – there are days when I’m just not that organized.
On those days, Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups come to my rescue. I’m a huge fan of Bob’s Red Mill products and often use their quick cooking oats to make my oatmeal recipes, but these oatmeal cups are especially great on rushed mornings.
The classic cups have a combo of whole grain quick cooking rolled oats, old fashioned rolled oats, and stone ground Scottish oatmeal, plus omega-3 rich chia seeds and flaxseeds. Some of the varieties also have dried fruit like dates, cranberries, and oranges, additional seeds, and a touch of sugar for sweetness. They’re all high in fiber and have 7 to 9 grams of protein – a perfect combo for keeping the kids satiated through the morning.
Bob’s Oatmeal Cups are easy to make too – just fill them with water or milk (the latter is my preference for a creamier consistency and a calcium and protein boost), microwave for a minute, and let rest for two minutes before you dig in. In the time it takes for the kids to get their shoes and jackets on, breakfast is ready and can easily be taken in the car or on the bus.
Happy Face Waffles
Kids love waffles, but who has time to be busy with a waffle iron in the morning (for the record, I don’t even own one). Frozen waffles have been around for a long time, but these days there are increased options in the freezer aisle and you can dress them up to make for a more filling and nutritious meal.
Here’s the catch: I’m not talking about your typical “l’eggo, my eggo waffle” or chocolate chip variations. The waffles I’m recommending are ones made with fiber-rich whole grains, so make sure you read those labels and look for whole wheat flour or a whole grain mix within the first few ingredients and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
As for toppings, go beyond syrup to keep this a nutrient-rich breakfast. Favorite toppings in our house are peanut butter and fresh fruit usually served as a “happy face.” Other toppings to try: cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit, mashed avocado with everything bagel seasoning, and cream cheese with smoked salmon.
I’m normally not an advocate of drinkable meals, but over the past year or so I have joined the smoothie fan club and have a much greater appreciation for the smoothie’s place in our diets.
Smoothies are definitely one of the quickest breakfasts you can make, but depending on what you put in them, they can either be nutrition-packed or a nutrition bust.
The key to making a nutrition-packed smoothie is to make sure it includes a combination of protein (e.g. kefir, low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, silken tofu), fruits and/or vegetables (e.g. bananas, berries, peaches, mango, cauliflower, spinach), and maybe even some healthy fat (e.g. nut butter, raw nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocado). This combo keep smoothies from becoming sugar bombs that make blood sugar rise and fall quickly, leaving you and the kids hungry shortly after consumption.
A note about fruit in smoothies: Fresh and frozen fruit both work well, but frozen fruit is easy to always have on hand and requires no prep. If you’re using fresh fruit, save time by washing and cutting it up the night before. You can even put all your smoothie ingredients in your blender of choice (I like the Nutribullet) in the fridge at night and blend it up in the morning.
One of our favorites is my Strawberry Kefir Smoothie, but we make different combos all the time – the possibilities are endless. One of my girls loves banana and the other doesn’t, so I often make two different smoothies to please both – the fact that I have time to do that shows you just how quick this breakfast choice is!
Like the Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups, smoothies are a great grab and go option – just make sure you have a cold thermos with a straw or a disposable cup and straw for the kids to take with them. And for those with older kids who may not be full from a smoothie alone, pack a baggie of whole grain cereal to go along with it.
My girls started to love parfaits when one Saturday morning they came down to the kitchen to find the counter filled with bowls of various fruit, cereal and granola, cottage cheese, and yogurt. They had a ball making their own parfaits in ice cream sundae glasses and the whole next week that’s what they wanted for breakfast.
Parfaits sound fancy for hectic weekday mornings, don’t they? Not when you keep the fancy title, but pare down what’s actually made. Our weekday parfaits (see blue bowl in picture above) consist of one layer of yogurt or cottage cheese, one layer of fruit, and one layer of cereal (preferably a whole grain option). It still has all the components included in the weekend parfait bar, but it takes a lot less time, making it a perfect healthy breakfast to get out the door.
To keep parfait making even quicker, portion out yogurt or cottage cheese the night before and cut up fruit in advance. If your kids are going to make their own, have all the ingredients in bowls covered with saran wrap – those little steps save precious minutes in the morning.
Yes, this does require some forethought and prep, but if you spend a couple of hours one weekend day every couple of months making a batch or two of muffins, you’ll have your freezer stocked. And assuming your kids eat a variety of these breakfasts and are not having a muffin every day, they will last you at least a few weeks.
Now, let me be clear here and say that I’m not talking about dessert-like muffins for breakfast. Muffins that are appropriate for breakfast in our house are those that have some protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables.
My freezer is always stocked with some combination of egg muffins and oatmeal cups. Sometimes I also have a sweeter variety on hand, such as pumpkin chocolate chip muffins or Rhubarb-Ginger Lemon Muffins, both of which I make with chickpea flour for a protein and fiber boost.
All of these muffins can be quickly defrosted in the microwave the morning of, or if you know in advance it’s going to be one of those mornings, defrost them overnight. While these muffins can be satisfying on their own, if your kids are bigger eaters I suggest pairing with a piece of fruit or slathering the sweeter varieties with some nut butter.
If you’re still in need of more breakfast ideas for the kids (and yourself), be sure to check out the roundup of quick and healthy breakfast recipes I shared back in September when the school year started.