Any parent knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even if you aren’t great at eating first thing yourself, it’s likely you make your kids eat something every morning. All the better for sending them off on the right footing for the day. You can certainly rest assured that, if they’re hungry by mid-morning, their work and energy will start to flag. And, if that happens, it could have a severe impact on their learning capabilities. After all, even one missed lesson when you’re young can affect your average ongoing grade in a significant way.
Hence why we all put so much effort into breakfast. Sure, our kids don’t always want to eat in the mornings, and we all sympathize with that. If you aren’t a morning person, it can be incredibly difficult to force something down. But still, we force them to sit and eat in the name of their educations.
Only, all is not well in the breakfast world for children. Why? Because the breakfasts we believe to be healthy are often revealed as a sham. Cereals and smoothies, for instance, were both once believed as healthy breakfast choices. Now, we’re told that both have sugar ratings through the roof. And, these aren’t the only culprits.
Thought it was a good idea to serve up toast on white bread? Think again, because that stuff has so many chemicals, you would never eat it again if you knew about them all.
Thought fruit was a good idea? You might not be so sure once you see the damage it can do to your children’s teeth. And, that’s before you even get onto the amount of sugar in the stuff!
It’s all enough to leave us parents wondering what on earth we should do. If breakfast is so crucial, why it so difficult to find genuinely healthy options? After all, sending your kids off on a sugar fix is almost worse than not giving them breakfast at all. A high-sugar cereal may give them short-term energy, but the high will be followed by a crash even worse than hunger.
The good news is, there are healthy ways to do breakfast. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box, and a knowledge of what your kids shouldn’t eat so early in the morning. To help you get into the spirit, let’s look at some of the right ways for your kids to start their days.
This one may confuse you a little. After all, haven’t we just been lamenting the downfalls of good-old fruit? Well observed. It’s impossible to ignore that fruit isn’t without its downfalls. Namely, this involves those little gnashers in your children’s mouths. The issue with fruit and teeth is that fruit contains acid. And, acid damages tooth enamel. In fact, many dentists claim that fruit is more damaging to the condition of our teeth than a bag of sweets.
Of course, it’s also worth noting the high sugar content in many fruits. In truth, even a standard banana can contain around 17 grams of sugar. That’s scary stuff! With all this in mind, how can you justify giving fruit to your kids so early in the morning? For one, it’s important to note that everything is fine in moderation. One piece of fruit will not a damaged tooth make. In fact, if you get your kids to practice decent dental hygiene, and take them for regular checks with practices like fenton-familydentistry.com, there’s nothing wrong with fruit for breakfast.
As for the sugar issue, it’s important to note that the fructose in fruits is entirely natural. It’s nowhere near as damaging as, say, a bowl of sugar. Plus, the fibres and vitamins your children get at the same time well outweigh the damage this sugar can do. It is worth bearing in mind that, when broken down for juices or smoothies, that sugar becomes much more of an issue. But, one banana chopped up with a handful of blueberries is unlikely to have any adverse effects.
As we mentioned at the start, cereals are another place of considerable confusion. Are they good for you, or aren’t they? Many of our favorite brands brag of being ‘fortified with vitamins and minerals’, and we believe that to mean they’re healthy. Yet, many of the best-known brands out there hide a dirty secret behind such claims – they’re jam-packed with sugar. This is especially the case with cereal for kids. These often focus on flavor over health benefits. Take Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, which contain 12 grams of sugar, and no fibre whatsoever. That’s compared with a bran alternative from the same company, which does have a high sugar content, but also contains 7 grams of fibre and 5 grams of protein.
The trouble is, getting kids to eat these healthy market alternatives is far from easy. They’re not targeted to kids, after all. Instead, you may be better off attempting to make tasty cereals at home. It’s relatively simple to create basic and delicious granola, for instance. All you need to do is stock up on oats and bake them with honey or syrup. By adding fruit and other fun additions, you can be sure your kids will enjoy this treat.
And, that’s far from your only option. You could even make your own ‘cornflakes’ using nothing more than corn flour and sugar, as you can see from sites like fashionedible.com. While there is sugar involved here, you can be sure it’s an awful lot less than you would get in shop-bought options. Plus, knowing exactly what goes into this option is sure to put your mind at ease about giving it to your little ones.
Along the same vein, it’s also worth introducing porridge into your morning routine. Though you may think this is time-consuming, rolled oats take less than ten minutes to prepare and cook. In fact, as long as you steer clear of steel cut oats, this will be as fast as any other breakfast option you can imagine. What’s more, porridge has a whole host of health benefits, from high-fibre content to the ability to stabilize blood sugars. What’s more, oats are fantastic at releasing energy through the morning, thus keeping your kids on track. And, isn’t that the primary goal here?
Of course, getting children to eat porridge isn’t always easy. From a child’s perspective, it looks a little too much like ‘gruel’. But, unlike Oliver Twist, it’s unlikely they’ll come back for more unless you make an effort here. The good news is, there are a few different ways to make oats more appealing. For one, you want to find natural ways to sweeten things up. Oats without sugar can be bland at the best of times. But, you don’t want to heap on spoonfuls of the stuff. Instead, it’s worth sweetening things up with natural options.
Honey works well here, as do dates and other fruit toppings. You could even try making overnight oats, as found on sites like https://minimalistbaker.com. These are especially useful if you’re worried about time, as you can prepare them the night before and just get them out of the fridge next morning. These could go down well with kids because the oats soak and take on an almost cakey texture. It’ll be like eating treats for breakfast, with none of the repercussions!
Yogurt is another breakfast minefield. On the outside, it has many health benefits, as mentioned on sites like www.healthline.com. It’s fantastic at promoting healthy gut bacteria, as well as being packed with protein and other vital nutrients. But, again, most kid-friendly options have enough sugar to knock you sideways.
But, that doesn’t mean yogurt should be off the breakfast menu altogether. In fact, this can be a fantastic option if done right. For one, you should steer clear of flavored options. Instead, stock up on natural yogurts and create your own taste sensations. Again, it’s worth returning to natural sweeteners here. Fruit and honey can transform even the most basic yogurt into something special. You could also mix this with that granola you made earlier in the post, and use that to add a level of interest. If you strike on a balance your kids love, you can be sure you’ll never need to opt for those sugar-filled options again.
Toast isn’t an absolute no-go altogether, either, even if white bread is. Instead, you want to opt for seeded bread and toast that for your kids. This has the benefit of being a whole grain option, while also boasting benefits from a variety of seeds. In short; bread doesn’t get better than this when it comes to health. It may also be worth steering clear of sugary jam toppings. Instead, focus on options such as beans, or peanut butter with a drizzle of honey over the top. These will be better for slow-release energy, while also ensuring top health benefits.
Disclosure – I have teenagers who constantly need something and a husband who thinks items like race cars and boats are toys. So, throughout the blog you will find affiliate links that enable me to buy a bottle or two or three of wine to keep my sanity intact.