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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Six Healthy, Kid-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

As Moms, we all know how important breakfast is, both for ourselves and our kids. Having breakfast within an hour of waking up gives us the energy we need to start the day, kick-starts our metabolisms, helps us focus and concentrate all morning, and can even control our appetites and cravings all day, preventing unhealthy snacking later (especially when breakfast includes enough protein). This, in turn, helps us to reach a healthier weight.
For busy families, breakfast cereal seems to be the go-to choice for quick and easy breakfasts. It's fast, kids like it and there is next to no prep time. Here's the thing. For the most part, breakfast cereal sucks in the nutrition department. Yes, there are higher fibre, lower sugar options out there, and having cereal occasionally will do no harm. But even though cereal can pack a punch in the calorie department, you may notice that cereal doesn't keep you full for very long. This is because it is often lower in fibre, high in sugar, low in protein, and high in refined starchy carbohydrates. Therefore, you will likely need more food to satisfy you soon after eating breakfast. And you will likely eat more throughout the day.
Here are six healthier (yet still yummy!) breakfast options that you and your kids will love: 
*Hint: All of these ideas are also great for lunch or dinner, too.

1. Oatmeal Many Ways


Oatmeal is our family's go-to breakfast of choice. It is high in fibre, satisfying, and versatile. Use large flake oats—or better yet, steel-cut oats—add milk or soymilk, a dash of salt and microwave for two minutes in a microwave-safe tall container or bowl so that it doesn't spill over. Add more milk or greek yogurt (which is higher in protein than regular yogurt), nuts or seeds, and your fruit of choice. If it needs to be sweetened a bit, add maple syrup or brown sugar. You can also make a big batch on the stove-top and eat it all week by heating a portion in the microwave, adding extra milk and fixings. Here are 5 more oatmeal recipes that you'll love.

2. Homemade TEC (Tomato, Egg and Cheese Sandwich)


Ingredients (1 serving):
  • 1 whole wheat english muffin or 2 slices of whole grain toast
  • 1 tsp of butter or margarine
  • 1-2 eggs done the way you like (poached, over-medium, sunny side up, scrambled etc)
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 slices of fresh tomato
Instructions:
  1. Butter your toast or english muffin and then layer your egg, cheese and tomato on top.  Enjoy alone or with some fruit.

3. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients (1 serving):
  • 3/4-1 cup greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts or ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup homemade granola
  • 1/3 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
Instructions: 
  1. In a bowl or portable container, layer the yogurt, seeds, fruit and granola. Enjoy!

4. Berry, Oat and Yogurt Breakfast Smoothie


Ingredients (1 serving):
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp of seeds (hemp hearts, chia or flax)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp large flake oats
  • Handful of fresh spinach (optional, but I promise you won't notice it)
Instructions: 
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth. You may want to add more milk to thin in out OR some ice to make it thicker. 

5. Easy French Toast

Ingredients (1 serving):
  • 1-2 slices of whole grain or sprouted grain bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • dash of cinnamon
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 cup favourite fruit
Instructions:
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium and spray with cooking spray
  2. Whisk together egg, milk and cinnamon in a bowl and coat both sides of bread in it until covered
  3. Transfer to hot pan. Flip when side down is golden brown and cook on other side until golden brown
  4. Transfer to plate, and add greek yogurt or cottage cheese, fruit and maple syrup

6. Muffin Tin Omelets


Ingredients (makes 4 adult servings OR 8 kiddie servings):
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tomato chopped finely
  • 2- mushrooms chopped finely
  • 1/2 bell pepper chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp green onion or chives chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 12 cup muffin tin
  2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper
  3. Add chopped veggies to egg mixture and stir
  4. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop egg mixture into a greased muffin tin until dispersed evenly
  5. Add 1 tbsp of grated cheese on top of each omelet
  6. Fill empty muffin holds with 2 tbsp of water
  7. Cook omelets at 400 F for approximately 15 minutes or until eggs are firm.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and then serve on top of whole grain toast. Add salsa if you like.