On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas for Your Kids

Fruit on pieces of toast for breakfast
Bonninstudio/Stocksy United

It is important to refuel after a night’s sleep. Our bodies go eight to 12 hours without being replenished. We can’t expect to perform well without providing energy for our body to function. Think of it this way: Your body is like your car; when the tank is empty, you’re not going anywhere. It’s the same with our body. It needs fuel to function in order to accomplish all we have to get done in a day.

Proper fuel is especially important for high-energy kids. The food they eat in the morning floods their body with the energy they need to power through their morning, mentally and physically.

Skipping a morning meal leads to grumpy, irritable kids, difficulty with concentration, and lowered ability to perform in school. When kids skip a meal they also have a difficult time meeting nutritional needs for the day. Breakfast helps them maintain a healthy weight and develop healthy eating habits. 

The Best Breakfast Options

Not all breakfast foods are created equal, either. In fact, there are some “breakfast foods” that I count as a sometimes food. Making good decisions about what we eat first thing in the morning will impact our whole day, so you should look to give your kids food high in nutrition and sustainability. Fiber and protein will help hold off hunger longer. Eating high sugar foods like pastries and some ready-to-eat cereal will result in hunger pangs within an hour or two.

For a high nutrient breakfast, use the ChooseMyPlate.gov diagram to help guide breakfast choices. Try to include at least three different food groups. For example, you could have a toasted whole grain bagel with an egg and slice of cheese. You can put this together in less than five minutes and eat it on the way.

On a morning when you have a minute to sit, there are whole grain cereals that are high in nutrition and dietary fiber, but be sure to include a piece of fruit and a glass of milk to keep it well balanced. Overnight oatmeal cooked through the night in a slow cooker with added dried fruit can help sustain kids and adults through lunch. Scrambled eggs don't take that long to make if you have a skillet ready and hot. Add some cheese, tortilla, and some salsa to make an egg burrito for the road.

Smoothies are another great option. They help to keep the integrity of the whole fruit, so you don't lose the dietary fiber benefits like you can with juice. Try keeping smoothie portion-size bags of frozen fruit in the freezer. In our house, the bags include fruit or vegetables in our favorite combinations. You can also freeze yogurt cubes in ice cube trays and keep them in your smoothie bags. This will add protein to the smoothie. You can add milk or juice to your fruit in a blender and you have a smoothie within seconds.

There will be those days when you need to grab something quickly to eat on the way. Keep a bag of trail mix or granola in small portion bags that kids can eat on the bus or in the car.

Keep fresh fruit on hand that can be eaten any time for breakfast or snacks. 

Here are some other ideas to keep in mind to help mornings run a little smoother.

  • Scrambled eggs: The night before, scramble two eggs but do not cook them. Store them in a container with diced pepper and onion. It will be ready for the skillet in the morning.
  • Pancakes: During the weekend, prepare extra waffles or pancakes that can be toasted and served on a busy weekday morning. This way you can control the ingredients using whole grains and less sugar and sodium. You can even use these to make a breakfast sandwich or  wrap some fruit in a homemade pancake to take with you. PB&J pancake sandwich!
  • Muffins: Have healthy oat or bran muffins prepared and ready for a quick breakfast or snack before soccer practice. Veggie smoothie muffins are another delicious option.
  • Peanut butter and banana: One of our favorite breakfast classic combinations is a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a sliced banana. It's a simple no-cook breakfast.
  • Yogurt parfaits: Layer your choice of fruit, yogurt, and granola. Kids love to make their own flavor combinations. There are so many different types of yogurt available that you could combine all kinds of flavors, fruit, and granola and let kids make their own book of parfait recipes. 

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