Kids’ breakfast made easy, by Lola Renton


As alarm clocks start to ring far too early across the country,  the morning frenzy on a regular school day is just about to start. Getting the kids ready for school, finishing up homework, looking for shoes under the bed and buttoning up shirts – all this has to happen on a tight schedule in order to join the school run. By the time teeth are brushed, lunch boxes packed and shoelaces tied, there’s only time to gulp down a glass of juice, a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal at most.  This scenario is a reality for many families who, let’s face it, may not resemble the perfect ‘advertisers’ dream family’, sharing a wholesome morning meal in a sparkling kitchen with the sun shining through the window!

TV commercial or not, study after study confirms that children function better with food in their stomach. Having breakfast increases concentration at school, prevents unhealthy snacking and overeating and can even improve maths grades. Research also confirms that children eating a balanced meal in the morning outperform those who start their day on a high sugar, high carbohydrate breakfast.

Cereal drowned in skimmed milk and toast smothered in margarine or chocolate spread does not constitute a nourishing start to the day! These foods are devoid of nutrients, high in sugar, stuffed with processed fats and can even make your child more tired and sluggish. Gluten in cereal and casein in dairy products are very difficult to digest and they are among the most common foods that cause food intolerances, digestive issues and behavioural problems in children.

Kids weekday breakfast has to be quick to prepare, filling, packed with nutrition and – first and foremost -tasty! Porridge, with added fruit, meets all of these criteria.

Luckily there are other choices than cereal or toast, with much more natural, nourishing and great tasting foods you can serve up for breakfast. Still, your children’s morning munch has to adhere to certain rules: it has to be quick to prepare, easy to digest, packed with nutrition and – first and foremost for them -tasty!

The alternative to cereal

You cannot argue with a bowl of porridge. Full of fibre and complex carbohydrates, it is fantastically filling and quick to make. Cook it in some almond milk, which is easier to digest and contains just as much calcium and vitamin D as regular cow’s milk. Stir in a dollop of nut butter to supply growing bones with much-needed protein and busy brains with a dose of healthy fats. Throw some blueberries on top and your little ones should wolf it down at once! If a little more sweetness is required, use small amounts of Xylitol or Stevia. These are natural sweeteners derived from plants, which are kind to teeth, gentle on blood sugar levels and indistinguishable from sugar. You could even grate an apple and a carrot and cook them with your oats! Who knew that you could hide a portion of vegetables in your morning porridge!

Eggs all the way!

Eggs provide perfect nourishment for your child: vitamins, minerals, good fats and masses of protein. Soft-boiled is a firm favourite!

Eggs provide perfect nourishment for your child: vitamins, minerals, good fats and masses of protein. But we are not talking about scrambled eggs on toast because the real challenge is to get some vegetables on the plate as well! Below is my favourite recipe for a super quick and healthy breakfast ‘pancake’ which even makes a great snack on the go!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, or any gluten free flakes or flour you can find (buckwheat, maize, gram [chickpea] flour, millet, quinoa, rice)
  • ½ grated courgette
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon of grated cheese – because kids love cheese!

Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the flour/flakes/oatmeal and whisk again. Grate the vegetables and cheese straight into the mixture and combine well, season with salt and pepper. Heat a little coconut oil and pour the whole lot into a pan, spreading it out evenly. Turn your ‘pancake’ after 5 minutes until both sides are golden. Cut into pieces and serve with beans, hummus or just by itself.

If time runs out in the morning, this can even be eaten in the car or on the way to school!

Super-fast and filling ‘milk shake’

This might be a surprise but fruit juices and fruit smoothies by themselves are not an ideal morning drink. They are full of sugar and won’t keep your child full for long. But combine the fruit with a few other magic ingredients and you can whip up a highly nutritious ‘milk shake’. All you need is a blender or basic hand blender, it won’t matter if it’s nutri ninja vs nutribullet, it just has to work. Match that with a list of your children’s favourite fruit and you’re ready. Start by adding 2 tablespoons of oats, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, about a cup of milk ‘alternative’ such as almond, rice or coconut and 1 banana. This is the basis for your smoothie. Now add whatever your kids fancy, anything from berries, pears, apples, pineapple, grapes or even (pure) cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla extract! Blitz it all up and you have created a nutrient-packed liquid breakfast that should be a favourite with children!

Now they can go and enjoy their school day!

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Lola Renton

About Lola Renton

Lola Renton is a leading Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons) and product consultant with a passion for anything edible. She is a published health writer for national publications and international magazines and a down-to-earth blogger in cyber space. In the confusing and contradicting world of nutrition, it is her aim to set the record straight and serve her followers delicate pearls of nutrition on an entertaining, light hearted plate.

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