One of the biggest challenges in switching to a real food diet is figuring out what to eat for breakfast. Breakfast cereals are a really common choice these days, especially for kids, but sadly, are not real food. Even healthy and organic breakfast cereals must be processed in some way to reach cereal form, and virtually all of them have added sweeteners. Some even contain more sugar than donuts! On top of that, many contain genetically modified ingredients in the form of Corn products (including high fructose corn syrup), hydrogenated oils or GMO grains.
Virtually all breakfast cereals are very high in sugar/carbs and almost all contain processed grains. This means that they are high in phytic acid, which can damage the intestinal lining and lead to tooth decay. Many also contain artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. We feed our poor kids these boxed insulin spikes and then wonder why they have trouble sitting still in school!
Even for adults, popular breakfast choices are often things like bagels, donuts, croissants, toast, cereal, pop tarts, etc. Sure, these things are fast and easy to prepare, but have you ever read the ingredients? If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, getting enough protein and fat is even more important!
So, what should we eat for breakfast? I suggest a mixture of proteins, good fats and *gasp* vegetables! This is especially vital for children, whose developing brains need adequate proteins and fats to function. Think about it: breast milk, which is the perfect food for newborns, is almost 50% saturated fat, yet no babies get heart disease. Isn’t it logical that the need for adequate fat doesn’t just go away once babies wean? The human brain is approximately 70% fat, and since kids brains are rapidly developing, they need healthy fats for optimal brain function.
Unfortunately, our fast-paced lifestyles and misguided interest in low-fat diets have put our kids (and us) at a big disadvantage. If you aren’t sure about the importance of fats, check out this funny and very informative video!
Studies in mice have also found that mice fed breakfast cereals died before mice who were given only water, and more surprisingly, mice fed the breakfast cereal box lived longer than mice fed the breakfast cereal! If you are paying several bucks a box for breakfast cereal, sadly, the most nutritious part might be the box! Couple that with the fact that most cereals are eaten in milk, which can have some problems of its own, and you have a breakfast disaster.
If you are ready to give your kids a nutritional boost at breakfast, don’t worry- the healthy options are often cheaper, and can even be easier, than cereal. These kid-approved recipes are also great for adults, and ensure enough proteins and fats to make breakfast truly the most important meal of the day:
This is an easy and tasty breakfast idea that is portable and able to be eaten on the go. It packs a powerful nutritional punch and tastes delicious. It can be adjusted to fit your child’s tastes by adding whichever vegetables your child likes. You can make these by the dozen and just reheat for breakfast each day, making breakfast faster and easier than a bowl of cereal!
These are also portable and kids love them, but they do contain a fair amount of sugars from the dates, so they should be paired with a hardboiled egg or some other protein. These are simple to make, and with only a few natural ingredients, they beat the heck out of Pop Tarts!
Oven Omelet (Aka Leftover Omelet)
When cooking for a whole family, this is an easy way to help everyone get quality proteins and sneak in some veggies. Cook veggies and meats of choice (we love spinach, onions, ham, etc.) in a large oven-safe pan until pretty soft. Add a dozen eggs or so, scramble in with a fork and stick in the oven to finish cooking. When it’s done, thin slices like a pie and can be eaten on the go.
This is my kids’ favorite, and while they don’t get it every day, this is the only smoothie that keeps them full for more than half an hour. It contains coconut milk, coconut oil, almond butter, egg yolks, banana, vanilla, and whatever flavor you like (cinnamon, cocoa powder, strawberries, etc.). It has plenty of good fats and medium chain fatty acids to support kids brains, and they enjoy it because it tastes like a milkshake! It also contains much less sugar than juice based smoothies and keeps you satisfied much longer!
These are a big hit at our house, and while they take longer to prepare, they can be made ahead and frozen to reheat. They contain more protein than some of the “eggs” you get in fast food breakfasts, and also have healthy fats and filling fiber to keep kids (and adults) going until lunch. They also only have a few ingredients and taste great! Use strawberries and whipped unsweetened heavy cream or pure maple syrup for toppings (if you need one!).
Bacon, Eggs, and Sliced Apples
Opt for pastured eggs and nitrite free bacon, and this breakfast is a well-balanced meal for anyone (and who doesn’t love bacon and eggs?!). It’s fast to whip up on the stove and beats the socks off a bagel any day. This is our standard go to breakfast almost every day, and my kids have even started requesting their eggs cooked a certain way: “May I have scrambled today” or “I’d like over-izzie” (over easy). There are tons of ways to mix this up and it fills kids up. We haven’t had morning or afternoon snacks in months… because they haven’t asked for them.
Hard Boiled Eggs and Fruit with Heavy Whipped Cream
Another easy and delicious breakfast option, especially when berries are in season! Just hard boil eggs the night before and have them ready to peel for breakfast. Put a handful of sliced berries in a bowl and top with homemade whipped cream (just beat heavy whipping cream and a little vanilla with a hand mixer).
Willing to try a new breakfast routine? Give it a couple weeks and see how much better your kids are doing! What is your favorite healthy breakfast? Let me know below!