Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Kids on School Days

If your kids haven't started back to school yet, they will soon.  You already have their supplies and clothes. What's next? The before-school craziness. In the morning rush of packing lunches, getting dressed and locating shoes, finding homework and clean gym clothes, and meeting the carpool on time, breakfast often comes last. But we all know that kids (and adults) should start the day with a healthy breakfast—with a full stomach, kids can concentrate better in school be ready to learn, and be in an overall better mood.

Breakfasts can be elaborate or easy, hot or cold, sit-down or portable. They don't need to consist of pre-made items that get pricey quickly with kids' appetites. And if you keep just a few basic items ready to go, your kids can never tell you there is nothing to eat or that they are out of time! With the addition of some fruit and a glass of milk, even the simplest bowl of cereal becomes a complete meal. Need even more ideas, or maybe you're dealing with a special diet? Check out these recipes.

Cold Breakfasts

Cold cereal—Skip the sugary cereals marketed to kids and go with something by Kashi or plain Cheerios. Trader Joe's has a large selection of healthier cereals that cost much less than those in the larger stores. Serve with milk, or stirred into yogurt, or even dry. Add fruit, or serve it on the side.

Yogurt, granola, and fruit—Made your own parfaits! All you need are plain yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit (berries, bananas, and stone fruits all work well). Even young elementary-aged kids can make this themselves. If your kids have nut allergies, you might want to make your own granola—see the links.

Pizza—I admit it, cold pizza is my kids' absolute favorite breakfast. And with veggies, meat, sauce, and the crust, it is also a complete breakfast.

Hot

Pancakes—A traditional favorite. Mix up your batter Monday morning and keep it in the fridge for fresh pancakes all week long (or at least for a couple of days, depending on how many the kids eat!). Serve with real maple syrup, a fruit-only jam, or with sliced fruit. Or even just butter with fruit on the side.

Hot Cereals—Oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, 10-grain cereal, creamy buckwheat, cheesy grits. There are lots of choices out there, and Bob's Red Mill makes some you have probably never heard of. Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's all carry Red Mill products, as do many other stores.

Eggs—Scramble them up and serve with breakfast links or bacon and a side of fruit, fry them and serve with toast and jam, or make to-order omelets if you have the time.

Make Ahead

Waffles—Whip up a double batch on a weekend morning, and freeze the leftovers. You can toast them, or steam and panfry to get that just-made texture. Our family loves the Buttermilk Waffles from The Joy of Cooking (and I sneak in white whole wheat flour for half of the flour called for).

Casseroles—Breakfast casseroles make having a piping hot breakfast easy. You can try crockpot oatmeal, French toast casserole (many recipes are prepped at night, soak overnight, and bake in the morning), potato-bacon casserole, a quiche, or a frittata. Quiche and frittata are both delicious hot or cold.

Scones or rolls—For piping hot scones, make the dough the night before and store it in the fridge. Form and bake in the morning. To make the airiest butterhorn rolls (aka crescent rolls) ever, make the dough the day before (a bread machine makes this super-easy), then form them and leave them to rise overnight in the oven. Bake in the morning.

Portable

Slept in and you need to get out the door? There are plenty of portable breakfasts out there. They can eat while waiting to be picked up, on the way, or right before school starts.

Fruit and grain bars—Some are junk; some are better. Check the ingredients before you buy, or make your own; it is surprisingly easy.

Muffins—Make a batch (or 2) of your kids' favorite muffins, and freeze them. They'll be ready for those days when there is no time to sit down and eat.

Breakfast sandwiches—A toasted waffle with nut butter and banana, an English muffin with ham and tomato, or buttered whole wheat toast and an apple. All can be eaten out of hand without making a huge mess.

Hardboiled egg—Keep them in the fridge, ready to go. They also go great in the kids' lunch.

Fruit—Apples, pears, stone fruits, bananas. Any fruit that can be eaten out of hand can be a rushed breakfast.

Looking for more ideas?

Want to try something different? How about Anoush Abour, a kid-friendly Armenian wheatberry porridge. Or how about some baked breakfast taquitos?

If you are dealing with a food allergy, there are a lot of recipes out there on the web. There is vegan French toast (yes, dairy- and egg-free!) and vegan blueberry muffins. For wheat allergies, hot millet cereal is a delicious option, and you can even make gluten-free blueberry pancakes! There are dairy-, egg-, or gluten- free versions of just about anything you can think of—simply do a google search and explore the many recipes created by experienced allergy moms.