Mornings before school can get quite hectic. There’s the mad dash of waking up, picking the right outfits, getting papers signed, packing lunches, and locating both left AND right shoes, which is enough in itself. But then there's breakfast to be made as well. You haven't even started getting them fed, which would be easy if kids actually ate everything you put in front of them. That’s why I’m sharing my favorite suggestions for a healthy breakfast for kids that will give them a great start to the day.
I love these easy breakfast recipes because they leave kids well fed. Sugary cereals and refined grains cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels, which drop quickly. This can leave your child feeling hungry, cranky, and/or sleepy. The wholesome ingredients in these recipes are absorbed by the body more slowly so that there are no blood sugar spikes. Additionally, these dishes are more likely to keep your child’s belly feeling happy until snack time or lunch.
WHY WE LOVE THESE RECIPES
- Perfect for busy mornings. The ingredients can be prepped the night before or quickly prepared before cooking.
- Freezer-friendly. Whip up a batch of carrot spice waffles and egg muffin cups ahead of time and store them in the freezer. They heat up in minutes for a quick breakfast option.
- Packed with nutrients. These breakfast recipes are loaded with yummy, nutritious ingredients that your kids will devour in minutes!
- Filling. The ingredients used — like avocado, pumpkin purée, and almond flour — make a healthy breakfast for kids and will keep them full until lunchtime, preventing a mid-morning energy slump.
Here’s what you need to make a healthy breakfast for kids:
- Shredded coconut
- Pumpkin purée
- Carob powder
- Sea salt
- Vanilla powder
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Sea salt
- Baking powder
- Vanilla powder
- Pumpkin spice
- Monk fruit sweetener
- Almond milk
- Avocado oil
- Almond butter
- Maple syrup
- Red onion
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt
- Dijon mustard
- Black pepper
- Broccoli florets
- Eggs: They are easy to prepare, versatile, and packed with high-quality protein and other nutrients. In fact, the protein in eggs is especially important for growing children because it helps build muscles and tissues.
- Avocados: They provide healthy fats important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain as well as soluble fiber that is great for digestion.
- Almond flour: A gluten-free alternative to wheat-based flours that is packed with nutrients like vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Also, it has a low glycemic index, meaning it releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream to provide a sustained source of energy.
- Broccoli florets: A super healthy veggie-packed with fiber, folate, vitamin C, and phytochemicals. It’s a great way to enhance the nutritional value of your child’s meals.
- Carrots: They are naturally sweet and filled with vitamin A and beta-carotene, an essential nutrient that enables healthy growth in children.
WHAT IS A “GOOD” BREAKFAST FOR KIDS?
Breakfast cereals are the easy option on a busy school morning, but they are often highly processed and packed full of sugar.
To help your kids start the day right, you want to give them a healthy breakfast. Research confirms that eating breakfast is particularly important for school-age kids: academically, physically, and emotionally. In fact, consistently eating a quality, nutrient-rich breakfast enhances a child’s on-task learning, academic performance, and student behavior.
To make sure your little ones are eating a nutrient-rich first meal of the day before they head off to school or their weekend activities, let’s look at what to include in a healthy breakfast for kids.
Protein: Protein aids in the growth of our bones, skin, muscles, cartilage, enzymes, and hormones. Our kids are constantly growing, and protein is what makes that happen. Most proteins are sources of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and other vital nutrients. Try eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, oats, or seafood.
Healthy fats: Young children need healthy fats to grow as they help with brain growth and development. Also, healthy fats are a concentrated source of energy for the body. They help slow the absorption of carbs and help us feel full for longer. Instead of refined fats and vegetable oils, try coconut oil, butter, avocado, nuts and seeds, or nut butter.
Complex carbs: Complex carbs are broken down slowly by our bodies, which helps keep us full. That means our kids won’t be bothered by a growling tummy during a mid-morning test. They are also a main source of fuel for the body and brain functions. Try whole grains, whole-grain breads, or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and other root vegetables.
Veggies: It’s easy to focus on fruits for breakfast instead of veggies. However, they are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain function and energy. Bonus points for leafy greens! Try adding sliced tomatoes or cucumbers to any breakfast plate, make a veggie scramble or omelet, or add veggies into your smoothies.
EASY BEFORE-SCHOOL BREAKFAST IDEAS
1. CAROB SMOOTHIE
Breakfast smoothies are an easy way to pack an entire meal into a drink. This creative, nutrient-packed recipe uses cooked pumpkin purée to create a filling and delicious take on the drink. They are an excellent way to offer fruit, veggies, protein, and fat for breakfast. Make this quick and healthy carob smoothie when you’re on a time crunch. The kids can even drink them in the car!
2. CARROT SPICE WAFFLES WITH ALMOND BUTTER
Skip the storebought mixes and make this homemade version that is so delicious! These carrot spice waffles are soft, fluffy and so easy to make with healthy and simple wholesome ingredients. They have all of the flavors you crave from classic carrot cake treats. Also, moms love them because they take less than 15 minutes to prepare.
Serving suggestion: Make them extra appealing by topping the waffles with fruit, honey, nuts, or compote. Alternatively, you can make them savory and top with mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs, avocados, or smoked salmon.
3. EGG MUFFIN CUPS
These yummy egg muffin cups are a simple and portable option that's full of protein to keep your kids full until lunch. It's also a snap to customize to taste as you can add in just about any veggies, cheese, or herbs that you like. This breakfast is also easy for little fingers to eat and has the convenience factor of freezing and microwaving well.
Serving suggestion: Serve with some toast, diced avocado, and a glass of fresh juice.
- Plan your meals. Take the time to plan out your weekly school breakfast menu so that you don’t spend mornings scrambling for something to make. However, if you need more meal ideas, check out my Vegelicious cookbook for delicious yet healthy breakfast (lunch and supper) ideas!
- Prep ahead as much as possible. Once you’ve got your meal plan, pick one day a week to knock out meal prep, like a Sunday afternoon. That way, you’ve got everything you need to whip up breakfast in a flash!
- Try overnight or make-ahead options. Making healthy breakfast for kids is so much easier when you can cook things overnight or pop them in the oven when you wake up. Therefore, consider overnight or make-ahead breakfast ideas to get a head start on the day.
- Use time-saving tools and appliances. Some kitchen gadgets make a busy mom’s life easier when you’re trying to get breakfast done in time for school. For example, a food processor is so helpful when it comes to shredding, cutting, or blending. Check out my favorite kitchen tools guide that can help you make breakfast in no time!
- Give smaller portions. Younger kids can be overwhelmed by big portions. Instead of expecting your first-grader to eat an entire piece of toast, a big helping of scrambled eggs, and an entire banana, for instance, give them a half-slice of toast, a few forkfuls of eggs, and a few slices of banana to nibble on.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should I eat for breakfast before school?
A healthy carbohydrate such as oatmeal or sourdough toast, proteins such as your favorite protein powder mixed into a smoothie, or scrambled tofu or pasture-raised eggs. Additionally, you can also include fresh or cooked fruit and even some veggies like cooked kale or sautéed mushrooms. Also, warm herbal tea is a nice way to get your digestion going in the morning.
What is an easy breakfast to make at home for kids?
- Fruit pizza: whole-grain pita bread or English muffin spread with apple butter or your favorite variety of cream cheese and decorated with cut-up fruits.
- Yogurt parfait: coconut yogurt or your favorite variety of yogurt layered with fruit and granola or chopped nuts.
- Waffles or pancakes: can be served with pure maple syrup, fresh or cooked fruit, tempeh bacon, or other healthy protein options.
What can a 12-year-old cook for breakfast?
- Smoothie with protein powder
- Nut butter toast with raisins and apple or banana slices
- Oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts, or seeds
- Avocado toast (pair it with a protein)
- Warmed-up dinner leftovers, even soup!
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- Yield: 1 serving 1x
This plant-based carob smoothie is vegan and naturally gluten-free. It’s a wholesome breakfast recipe with many health benefits!
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 cup water
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
¼ cup cooked pumpkin puree
Dash of sea salt
1 heaping tbsp. carob or cacao powder
⅛ teaspoon vanilla powder
Stevia or honey to taste
1. Place the shredded coconut and water into a blender. Blend on high for a few minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Strain through a nut milk bag if desired.
2. In the blender, place the milk and all remaining ingredients. Purée until smooth.
Optional: Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder or some walnuts to add protein to this smoothie.
Carrot Spice Waffles with Maple Almond Butter
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
Soft and fluffy homemade carrot spice waffles filled with shredded carrots and warm spices and drizzled with a yummy almond butter and maple syrup glaze.
¾ cup almond flour
2 tbsp. coconut flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon vanilla powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. Lakanto monk fruit sweetener with erythritol
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
Optional: ¼ cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil
½ cup shredded carrot
Maple Almond Butter Topping:
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking powder, vanilla powder, pumpkin pie spice, and monk fruit sweetener. Whisk to blend together.
2. Add the almond milk and optional avocado oil if using. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then add them to the almond flour mixture. Stir well. Add the shredded carrot and fold in gently.
3. Preheat the waffle iron. Just before adding the batter, lightly brush with a silicone brush or spray the waffle iron with a little avocado oil or coconut oil. Using a spoon or measuring cup, quickly add half of the batter (about 1 cup). Spread it evenly over the waffle iron, then close it.
4. If you have the kind of waffle iron you can flip, cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on one side, then flip it. Cook for an additional 2 ½ minutes on the other side. If you have a regular waffle iron that does not flip, just cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Carefully open the waffle iron. Let the cooked waffle cool slightly before removing. Repeat with remaining batter.
6. To make the maple almond butter topping: In a small bowl, mix together the almond butter and maple syrup. Serve the waffles warm, spread with the maple almond butter.
Egg Muffin Cups
- Yield: Makes 12 1x
These egg muffin cups are quick, filling, and already portioned out. They can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated for when you need them to grab and go!
⅔ cup diced red onion
Water or cooking oil of your choice
⅔ cup carrot, finely diced
10 large eggs
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
A few pinches freshly ground black pepper
Coconut oil or avocado oil, for the muffin tin
1 cup cooked broccoli florets
1. Heat a medium-size cast-iron skillet or another skillet of your choice over medium heat. Add the red onion, a small splash of water and a pinch of the sea salt. Cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the carrots, and another pinch of sea salt and splash of water. Cook for another few minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Crack all of the eggs into a large bowl. Beat the eggs. Add the Dijon mustard, sea salt and black pepper. Stir again.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Prepare your muffin tin by generously greasing each muffin cup with some coconut oil or avocado oil. Add a spoonful of the cooked red onion-carrot mixture to each cup, evenly distributing the veggies among the 12 muffin cups.
5. Pour some of the egg mixture into each muffin cup, dividing equally. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are set and no longer wet. Cool for 15 minutes. Use a knife around the edges to release the egg muffin cups from the muffin tin.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TRY THESE HEALTHY BREAKFAST RECIPES NEXT:
- First, try my chia pudding recipe that makes the perfect healthy breakfast to meal prep for the week. I’ve got three variations of the recipe that are creamy, satisfying, and loaded with protein, fiber, and omega-3s.
- Next, you should check out my brown rice porridge with apple-pear compote recipe. It’s a breakfast bowl packed with nutrients, flavors, and energy to give you the perfect boost to start your morning.
- Finally, don’t snooze on my avocado sourdough toast recipe. Toasted sourdough bread is topped with creamy mashed avocado, crunchy veggies and brightened with a squeeze of lemon.
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