Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you know why? It helps us get the energy needed to start a busy day, but especially in kids, a healthy breakfast means a better fuel for their bodies, and the ability of their brains to be able to function well and focus throughout the day.
After a long night without any food, your kid’s body is asking desperately for nutrition in the morning. Without the proper fuel, kids will have very little energy, a cranky mood and will not be able to focus and learn properly. This is why eating the right kind of foods at breakfast is important. A healthy breakfast will ideally have fiber, good carbs,and protein.
An unhealthy breakfast high in refined sugars and artificial ingredients will make your kid’s metabolism slow down and encourage disease. It may even have a negative effect on their energy levels and their ability to learn. Numerous studies have shown that kids who eat a healthy breakfast have higher cognitive function and regularly perform better at school.
I am going to give you 5 healthy options to traditional processed and unhealthy breakfast foods that are unfortunately highly marketed to kids. Loaded with refined sugars, they will give your kids an energy rush that will drop soon and crash, making them feel tired, cracky and craving even more sugar later in the day.
The good news is you can make your own breakfast foods in minutes with only a few healthy ingredients. Make a big batch, freeze and save for later. Give your kids real food and stay away from GMOs, artificial ingredients and flavors. Kids need good nutrition for their optimal development. We need to help them start the day the right way.
5 Worst Breakfast Foods For Kids Plus DIY Healthier Options
1. Pancakes. Who hasn’t tried Kellogg’s Eggo Pancakes with Aunt Jemima’s Syrup? Sure, they are convenient and an American breakfast staple, but they are one of the worst options for breakfast. Refined carbs, artificial ingredients, dangerous chemicals, preservatives, and if you add the fake syrup you will get lots of high fructose corn syrup on top of it. What a disaster! Same applies to their frozen waffles. Healthier option: you can choose organic pancakes or waffles made with whole grains and add honey instead. Best option: You can make your own pancakes like my recipes 2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes or Banana Pancakes. They are both made in minutes using only 2 ingredients. Add fresh fruits, nuts, or a little honey or maple syrup, and start your kid’s day the right way with no processed foods.
2. Sugary cereals. The worst cereals are sadly geared towards children. Popular brands like Froot Loops, Captain Crunch and Apple Jacks are 40 to 50% sugar by weight making them the same as eating candy. I don’t think any parent would like to feed candy for breakfast to their kids. These popular cereals are also full of chemicals, GMOs, and artificial dyes. That fruit loop bowl in the picture looks nothing but artificial to me. Want more information on this topic? please see my post 5 Processed Kids Snacks You Should Avoid. Healthier options: choose a cereal that has less than 5grams of sugar per serving and is made of 100% whole grains. Plain Cheerios contains only 1 gram of sugar per serving and their first ingredient is whole grain oats. Gereral Mills claims they are also non-gmo. Best option: You can make Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with only a few healthy ingredients. Adding quick oats is a smart way to include a healthy cereal in your kid’s breakfast.
3. Muffins. Loaded with unhealthy oils, refined flours and sugar. It’s like eating cake for breakfast. How can you offer a healthier muffin? Make your own and add some veggies. My kids love homemade muffins. They are so easy to make and you can experiment with different fruit and veggie combinations. Healthier option: Choose muffins that are made with whole grains or gluten free varieties, and fruits. Best option: Healthy Zucchini Carrot Muffins orSuper Healthy Banana Muffins. Your kids will be very excited about their muffins in the morning.
4. Granola/Breakfast Bars. Marketing and labels will fool you into thinking these bars are a good option for breakfast but the reality is most granola and breakfast bars are just made with refined carbs, sugars, preservatives, and may be no better nutritionally than a candy bar.Healthier option: Look for breakfast bars made with nuts and fruits. I like KIND Bars because of their cleaner ingredients and good flavor combinations. Best option: Try making Almond Bites. Only 3 ingredients and packed with nutrition to start your kid’s day full of energy. They are super easy to make and there is no need to bake them.
Breakfast Pastries. It is so easy to just give your kid a danish, a pop-tart, a croissant or even a bagel for breakfast. All of those are very unhealthy without having to further explain why. It is obvious they are not a good option for your kid’s breakfast. Healthier option: Choose 100% whole wheat, or Sprouted Grain Bread (my favorite kind) bread and make a Teddy Bear Toast. They are a good source of fiber. You can add protein with the nut butter and more nutrition if you add fresh fruits. Best option: Make your own 3 Ingredient Banana Bread Cookies. Made with quick oats. These cookies are also delicious and great for starting your kid’s day.