19 easy breakfasts kids can make themselves
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 1,000 times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And when you’re a kiddo who’s about to spend six hours in school, it’s doubly important to heed this age-old message.
“Including a healthy breakfast before the school day starts is just as important as is getting enough sleep,” says Jenifer Thompson, an advanced-practice dietician with expertise in pediatric nutrition therapy at Johns Hopkins. “It’s a key component of the morning that helps kids achieve academic goals, as well as maintain healthy weight. Studies have shown that a healthy breakfast improves memory and concentration and is also associated with less tardiness and fewer behavior problems.”
According to Thompson, the ideal breakfast should include a hearty source of carbohydrates (with fiber), as well as protein, which “minimizes hunger in the long break before lunchtime.”
Sounds easy enough, right? For families pressed for time in the morning, not necessarily.
While every mom and dad knows the importance of sending their kids to school after a healthy breakfast, life often gets in the way. Oversleeping, lost homework, sibling squabbles — the factors that contribute to hastily-eaten cereal are endless. So, why not have the kids take care of breakfast while you take care of everything else?
From super-simple twists on toast to leftover pizza (yes, really), here are 19 easy breakfast ideas for kids to make.
1. Yogurt parfait
One of Thompson’s favorite breakfasts is a yogurt parfait, which is simply yogurt with layers of whole-grain cereal and fruit. Easy — and fun — for any kiddo to fix themselves!
2. Breakfast smoothie
If your kiddos are old enough to use the blender, breakfast smoothies are a great option that can be half-prepped the night before. Cut up chunks of fruit and freeze in individual bags so kids just need to add the milk of their choice and, for added protein, a dollop of nut butter.
3. Nut butter on whole-grain bread
Whether they want to jazz it up with fruit and seeds or be an absolute purist, nut butter on whole grain bread or toast is always a great breakfast kids can make.
4. Oatmeal with banana
Another favorite of Thompson’s? Oatmeal topped with a banana. For kids who are too young to make oatmeal on their own, you can either make overnight oats that you leave in the fridge, or make slow cooker oats the night before and leave in the Crock-Pot.
5. Avocado toast
Even if your kids aren’t millennials, they can still enjoy avocado toast. For little ones who aren’t yet at the point of cutting up their own ‘cado, most supermarkets sell avocado spreads that work just as well. And need we even tell you? Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning was basically made for this breakfast.
6. Bagel with cream cheese and fruit
It’s a classic breakfast for a reason: It’s easy, filling and ridiculously tasty. Thompson recommends adding fruit (that you can cut up the night before) for an antioxidant punch.
7. Breakfast muffins with fruit
There are tons of breakfast muffin recipes to choose from. And the best part? You make them ahead, and you’ll have breakfast for days. All kids need to do is add their favorite fruit on the side.
8. Cottage cheese and fruit
Does it conjure up an image of a dieting ‘80s mom? Yeah, a little. But cottage cheese and fruit slices is an easy, high-protein breakfast for little ones to whip up.
9. Ham and cheese toastie
If you have a sandwich press in the house, here’s a great morning breakfast sandwich idea. Kids can top an English muffin with ham, cheese and tomato (or whatever they like) and press until nice and melted.
10. Waffle with nut butter and apple slices
How does one elevate their waffle game (while adding a dose of protein, no less)? Spread nut butter on top, of course. And a bonus: Nut butter is much easier for little kids to spread than cold butter from the fridge. Thompson suggests pairing with apple slices.
11. Cottage cheese toast
Is cottage cheese toast the next avocado toast? Ask your kiddo!
12. Yogurt, nuts, fruit and chia seeds
Kids love being creative, and breakfast should be no exception. Instead of the standard fruit-cereal-yogurt parfait, leave out a selection of nuts and seeds for them to choose from, as well.
13. Greek yogurt and honey toast
What’s better than Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt on whole-grain toast with a drizzle of honey. Guaranteed kids will get a kick out of eating yogurt the “non-traditional” way.
14. Bagel with hummus
Another great bagel topping, according to Thompson? Hummus!
15. Hard-boiled eggs and fruit or oatmeal
It’s never a bad idea to have hard-boiled eggs at the ready in the fridge for kids. According to Thompson, adding a side of fruit or oatmeal (or even a cereal bar) makes for a killer breakfast combo.
16. Leftover slice of cheese or veggie pizza
According to Thompson, breakfast doesn’t always have to involve, well, breakfast foods. “It’s OK to think out of the box for the first meal of the day,” she says.
On that note, it’s even acceptable, according to Thompson, for kids to eat a leftover slice of plain or veggie pizza for breakfast. Who knew?! Teens have had it right all along. (And yes, it’s OK if your little one wants to just eat straight from the fridge without heating it up.)
17. Deli meat wraps
Lunch for breakfast? Why not! Wraps made with deli meat and cheese are sure to keep little ones fueled until lunch time. Bonus points if they add lettuce or spinach.
18. Nut butter and jelly sandwiches
It’s filling. It’s a little sweet. And it’s easy for little hands to make. The real question here is: Why haven’t your kids been eating nut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast all these years?
19. Burritos — breakfast or not
If kids are too young to make eggs, bean burritos — with cheese and whatever other fixin’s they like — are another great option. After all, why should lunch and dinner have all the fun?
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