10 Smart Breakfast Tips for Families

1. Don’t have time for breakfast? Make it ahead so you can grab-and-go. Make a batch of muffins on the weekend, wrap them individually and freeze. Just take one out the night before to thaw by morning. Or spread some peanut butter on a whole wheat wrap, drizzle on some honey and a sprinkle of dried cherries, and wrap it up. Stash it in the fridge overnight and then eat it on your way out the door in the morning.
2. If you are never hungry for breakfast, it could be you are eating too much at night. Try eating a light dinner and have no more than some fruit as a snack in the evening. Chances are you will get up in the morning with a healthy appetite. You’ll be better off because you’ll be get energy early in the day when you really need it, and probably eat fewer, more nutrient-packed calories overall.
3. Skipping breakfast to save calories is like skipping homework to save brainpower. People who skip this morning meal tend to make up the calories and then some later in the day. Plus, eating breakfast has been tagged one of the key habits of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off.
4. Who says you have to have breakfast food for breakfast? If your kids don’t like cereal, eggs, and such, give them their favorite mac-n-cheese leftover from last night’s dinner, make them half a turkey sandwich, or try mini pizzas made with some pasta sauce and part-skim mozzarella atop a whole-wheat English muffin.
5. A bagel with cream cheese can run you close to 500 calories. Instead try a whole-wheat English muffin with some peanut butter. It is deliciously satisfying and only 320 calories.
6. Crave the smoky, meaty taste of bacon? Well, you can have it in a healthy way. Canadian bacon is actually lean ham that is smoked liked regular bacon and is perfect at breakfast time for a third of the calories and one fifth of the fat.
7. If your child just won’t sit down to breakfast in the morning, don’t force the issue. Instead, make a little snack bag with nuts, dried fruit, and their favorite whole-grain cereal. (Note: Dried fruit and nuts can be a choking hazard for kids younger than age 4.) Give it to them with a low-fat milk box to eat on the way to school.
8. Now it’s easier than ever to grab a healthy breakfast on the road. I love that Starbucks now has delicious hot oatmeal to go, with yummy toppings like dried fruit, nuts, and brown sugar. Next time, grab that with your skim latte. Or look for similar healthy choices — such as low-fat yogurt or a hard-boiled egg — at your usual morning pit stop.
9. Turn your supermarket’s cereal aisle into a treasure hunt for your kids. They’ll learn about nutrition and be well on their way to a healthier breakfast. Challenge them to find a cereal to buy that has less than 9 grams of sugar per serving and whole grain as the first ingredient. With smaller children who can’t yet read, talk to them about different cereals, and why you won’t buy one cereal but you will pick another choice.
10. Smoothies are like milk shakes, so kids love them. I always keep a variety of unsweetened frozen fruit on hand — peaches, berries, cherries, mangoes — so my daughter can pick and choose. We whir it up with yogurt, milk, and a dash of honey for a smile-inspiring quick breakfast.

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