Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for the whole family
For our kids, it is even more crucial because it facilitates growth and development that occurs at night as they sleep, and it helps them start their day with high energy and a good mood. Creating a balanced, healthy, and tasty breakfast for your child can be a challenge. It is important to understand what essential components are needed to provide a balanced, healthy breakfast.
It is also important to find tasty ways to incorporate these ingredients into a delicious meal. It’s not nutritious if you can’t get them to eat it! In this blog, I’ll help you understand what needs to be in a balanced breakfast and give you ideas for tasty breakfasts that kids will love.
What needs to be in a properly balanced breakfast for your child?
There are 4 building blocks that need to be in your child’s breakfast:
- Protein: This supports body growth. During the night, your child’s body is growing fast, and his body needs a good supply of protein to continue the growth process in the morning. Good proteins to include are eggs, milk, tuna, cheese, yogurt, beans, cottage cheese, chicken (pre-cooked and cut up), sliced turkey and more.
- Carbohydrates: Foods rich in carbohydrates supply energy to the body. The body needs a good source of energy to start the day, particularly after a good night’s sleep. However, it is very important to watch what carbohydrates are included in this food group. Here’s a rule of thumb: Not too many carbs, and definitely not in the form of sugar! Try to choose whole grains which will be absorbed slowly in the body. Examples of healthy carbohydrates include whole wheat bread/rolls, whole grain cereal with reduced sugar, whole grain crackers, oatmeal, rice cakes, granola and more.
- Vitamins & minerals: These are important for body functions and overall health. Fruits and vegetables are packed with these nutrients! Choose fruits such as oranges, berries, bananas, apples, pears, apricots, and plums. Include vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, bell pepper, snow peas and more. These fruits and vegetables can be served fresh (in a salad or simply cut into bite-sized pieces), cooked, steamed, in a smoothie, etc. Please note: Fruit juice is not a good alternative because of the high amount of sugar and low fiber. It’s best to eat the whole fruit.
- Fluids: After a night of sleep, our bodies are low on fluids, possibly even dehydrated. Most of us don’t feel thirsty, but we need to make sure we (adults and kids) drink at least one cup of fluid in the morning. Examples of good fluids for hydration include water, tea, milk, and hot milk chocolate (homemade, without a lot of sugar).
Help your kids love breakfast!
Here are 10 delicious breakfast ideas that you can make for your child in the morning. With a little effort, you can make them tasty and healthy!
- Pancakes: Whole wheat pancakes made with real eggs, served with one teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, served with fresh fruit and a glass of milk.
- Cereal: Whole wheat cereal (high in fiber, low in sugar) with dried and/or fresh fruit (for a naturally sweet taste) and milk.
- Sandwich: A sandwich made from a whole wheat bread/roll/bagel/English muffin with an omelette, avocado and fresh veggies. Served with tea or cup of water. (If your child does care for omelette, you could substitute it with tuna or cold-cut chicken or turkey.)
- Fresh breakfast: Scrambled eggs served with cottage cheese, fresh vegetables, and whole wheat bread (can be toasted), plus a cup of water or tea.
- Muesli: Yogurt with granola and cut up fruit. You can add a teaspoon of honey or maple Serve with a cup of water or tea. Please note: watch the sugar content in sweetened yogurts. Plain yogurt would be best.
- Homemade smoothie: Blend together assorted fruit with yogurt or milk and a cup ice.
- Oatmeal: Cooked oatmeal with milk and berries. Serve with a cup of water or tea.
- Homemade French Toast: Made with whole wheat bread, milk and egg. Fry in a pan with a small amount of oil. You can serve the French Toast with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup and with strips of veggies on the side. Serve with a cup of water or tea.
- A “dip-it” meal: Use whole grain crackers with different dips — hummus, tahini, cottage cheese, guacamole, light sour cream and more. Add cut veggies on the side that can also be used for “digging in.” Serve with a cup of water or tea.
- Tortilla wrap: Whole wheat tortilla filled with chopped boiled egg, avocado, and cut up vegetables (for example, chopped tomatoes). Serve with a cup of water or tea.
|Yael Dror is a Pediatric Nutritionist. She holds a Master’s degree in Physiology from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and most importantly, Yael is a mother of 3 active children. Yael is a former professional athlete and is a co-founder of Habitz.|