Every mom knows the importance of breakfast and the role it plays in helping their children grow and succeed in school but most mom’s, including myself, often skip breakfast.The following is a list of 6 healthy and fairly easy breakfast options, that you can feed your kids and eat yourself as well. Remember, the best way to encourage your children to be healthy eaters is to be a healthy eater as well. A good breakfast incorporates at least three of the four food groups. To learn more about Canada’s healthy food guide and the four groups click here.
Oatmeal is 100% whole grain and contains soluble fibre. Consuming whole grain products has been proven to decrease the risk of developing heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Oatmeal is especially great for those cold winter days; it’s warm, hearty, and nutritious. By preparing your own oatmeal you have full control over what goes in and the best part is that it only takes about 20min to prepare. I choose Bob’s Red Mill Natural Oats, but dry Quaker Oats is also a good option. You can sweeten oatmeal with brown sugar, or even a bit of maple syrup. Adding fresh fruits such as berries, bananas, or apples allows your child to start off his or her day with a serving of fruit. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you consume 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. You can also add raisins or nuts to the cereals depending on your child’s preference. Cinnamon is a popular addition to oatmeal as well.
2. Cereal and milk with fruit
For infants 2 and under, choose iron-fortified whole grain infant cereals. Iron is an essential mineral needed for your baby’s brain development (both cognitive and neurological development). Iron also plays a crucial part in the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. I chose the Earth’s Best brand, available at The Real Canadian Superstore and some Wal-marts, but you can choose any brand you prefer. More information on Earth’s Best products is available here.
For older children there is an overwhelming variety of cereals available and many of them are not very nutritious. Choose cereals that are relatively low in sugar, but high in fibre, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. I would recommend Multigrain Cheerios (contains 5 whole grains, 6g of sugar, 2g protein, and 3g of dietary fibre per 1 cup serving, as well as 100% iron). It is important to read all food labels when you choose products. To get the best nutritional value, choose cereals that are 100% wholegrain, contain less than 10g of sugar per serving, contain 3 or more grams of fibre, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. An organic version of Cheerios called Trader’s Joe is available at the Real Canadian Superstore. Some other brands of healthy cereals that my kids have tried and liked are, Puffins Original, Envirokidz Choco Chimp, Barbara’s Snackimals in Vanilla Blast and Kashi. All these brands of cereals are available in a variety of flavours. The addition of fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and adds more flavour and nutrition.
Note: If your child has asthma, warm the milk before you add it to the cereal as cold anything can trigger asthmatic symptoms.
3. Toast and eggs
When choosing bread for your family, opt for whole grain breads. A general rule is to look for breads with the least number of ingredients. It is safe to assume that the less the list of ingredients, the less additives it has. Some breads contain flax seeds, which contain essential Omega-3 fatty acids necessary for normal brain function, growth, and development. Picky eaters, will not immediately like seeing flax seeds in their bread, but if you slowly introduce it into their diet, they will eventually get used to it. I prefer to shop for bread at bakeries or a grocery store that has a bakery, to ensure that I get fresh bread every time.
Eggs are not only delicious and nutritious, they can be prepared many different ways to suit your taste and mood. I buy PC Organics Eggs. Another good option, although not organic, is Naturegg Nature’s Best. It is a source of 12 vitamins and minerals. The hens are fed vitamin enhanced vegetarian feed and there are no antibiotics or medication in the feed. Whether boiled, scrambled, poached, or made into an omelette, eggs are an easy breakfast. Scrambled eggs incorporate milk, poached and boiled eggs don’t need oil, and so many healthy additives (broccoli, red pepper, mushroom, cheese, ham etc.) can be added to an omelette.
To learn more about eggs and for recipe ideas visit www.egg.ca.
4. Almond butter and banana sandwich
This sandwich combines three of the four food groups and is packed with a lot of nutrients. Banana is well-known for having a high amount of potassium which is necessary for good nerve and muscle function. Research has suggested that eating bananas improves mood as well. Banana also has Vitamin C and fiber. The best part is that most kids love bananas for their natural sweetness. Almond butter is a butter made from either raw or roasted almonds. It is a good alternative to peanut butter and tastes great. Incorporating nuts into the diet, is good way to lower the risk for heart disease and strokes. Almonds are a good source of fat, calcium, Vitamin E, and fiber. I choose MaraNatha brand almond butter because it has no preservatives, artificial colours, or flavours. The best part is, this sandwich takes very little time to prepare which is perfect for days where you forget to set your alarm.
5. Bagel, cheese, & ham
Bagels are a good option for breakfast because they are easy to prepare and come in a lot of varieties. Choose whole grain or multigrain bagels for the most health benefit and buy them from your local bakery to ensure that you get fresh bagels. My kids love cinnamon and raisin bagels, and plain bagels. Even healthier options include those with flax seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. When you add a slice of cheese and ham or shaved chicken or turkey breast, you incorporate three of the four food groups, and it becomes a very nutritious breakfast. Maple Leaf Natural Selections has a great line of shaved chicken and turkey breast and hams that contain natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives. To learn more about Maple Leaf Natural Selections Products, click here. Opt for shaved chicken and turkey breast is healthier because they are both made from lean meats.
6. Carrot & Zucchini muffin
For those extra busy days, you may want to have breakfast already prepared. Muffins are a great option because they can be prepared a day or two in advance. They are fairly easy to make because all ingredients are blended together in just one bowl with a wooden spoon. To get the most nutritional value out of your muffins, look for recipes that use whole grain flour, brown sugar, less oil and fruits and vegetables. I prefer to substitute unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil called in muffin recipes to cut down on the amount of oil I give my kids. To carrot muffins I add raisins and zucchini, to banana muffins I add raisins and nuts or dark chocolate chips, and to blueberry muffins I add other berries. Even with all the healthy substitutions and additions, muffins always taste great and most children love them.
|© get cracking