You know the summer is over when your alarm shrieks two hours earlier than it did last week and you’re standing by the coffee-maker nodding off while it brews, seemingly at a snail’s pace. Once the coffee is eagerly ingested, you start the perilous process of waking your kids for their first day back at school. The relaxed summer mornings are replaced with waking the dead, followed by chaotic bursts of panic, bickering, wishing you could get everyone fed and a final rush out the front door in order to avoid hearing the school bell ring. Leisurely fixing a healthy breakfast is unceremoniously canned.
When back to school sneaks up on you, breakfast is the first healthy habit to go. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s crucial for those little minds focusing on both good behavior and learning throughout the day. Kids who skip breakfast have trouble concentrating, under-perform in memory tests and have low energy. In contrast, kids who eat breakfast tend to keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and fewer absences from school, as well as make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.
At Hilton Head Health,we capitalize on nutrition as an essential component for wellness and weight loss for our adult Guests. However, health and wellness are just as important for our kids! Here are 10 tips for fitting in a healthy breakfast among the back-to-school bedlam:
1. Trail Blazers: Make your own healthy breakfast trail mix and portion in baggies. Slip the baggies in your kid’s backpack, keep a few in your car’s glove box and throw one in your purse. Voila! Hidden trail mix, ready to eat, everywhere! Let your kids help pick out the nuts, raisins and dried fruits so they’re invested in the choice. (P.S. You can also do this with granola.)
2. Nice Catch Kid!: Cut up mixed fruit and portion in baggies then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to keep it from browning. Keep the bag in the fridge overnight for a great kids breakfast when you’re in a rush.
3. Smooth Move: Remember the fruit from tip #2? Use one of these bags for a smoothie. Throw the fruit from one baggie in the blender with some ice and Greek yogurt or a bit of peanut butter for some added flavor and protein. No child is going to refuse a smoothie! Nope, not gonna’ happen. Keep some disposable cups on hand so that you don’t have to buy a new set of glasses every month. If you want to take this one step further, you can actually put all the ingredients for your smoothie in the blender pitcher the night before and keep it in the fridge. Pull it out in the morning and blend it while you hover over the coffee-maker as it’s brewing.
4. Sandwiched for Time?: Purchase a loaf of zucchini or banana bread from your local healthy grocery store. Slice it thinly and make sandwiches using cream cheese or peanut butter. Portion into baggies and keep in the fridge. A yummy grab and go kid’s breakfast that they’ll love!
5. Unleash the Quiche!: Make muffin-tin frittatas or quiches early in the week and store in the fridge or freezer. Wrap one in a paper towel, warm it in the microwave, and stick it in your kid’s hands — as you’re signing that last minute permission slip. Garnish with a kiss on the cheek. (P.S. Leftovers are great for making frittatas). Here’s a video from Mom.me to get you started:
6. Speaking of leftovers: There’s nothing wrong with a non-traditional breakfast. Don’t be shy about microwaving some leftovers, especially if it’s a family favorite.
7. The Incredible, Edible Egg: The boiled egg is the original fast food. Always keep a few in the fridge for a shot of morning protein.
8. A Good-Day Parfait. Assemble a few yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits in disposable cups and store in the fridge. It looks, tastes and feels like a decadent morning treat that will send any kid off to school with a smile.
9. Stowaway Fruit. Stick an extra piece of fruit in your child’s lunchbox so they can eat it on the way to school. In the unlikely event that they actually ate breakfast before leaving the house, the fruit will make a great snack for later in the day.
10. Mamma Mia, Breakfast Pizza: Using a pre-made crust, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese (you are welcome to add marinara sauce as well as veggies), make a breakfast pizza and portion slices into baggies. Heat a slice in the microwave, give it to junior and then ask for a tip.
Wishing you all a wonderful school year with healthy and happy kids! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?