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Can You Really Get Kids Excited About a Healthy Breakfast?

We know weekday mornings can be hectic...

and hectic may not even begin to describe your mornings if you have school-aged kids.

Trying to get them out of bed, dressed, and even awake enough to eat breakfast can be a challenge.  This is why so many turn to the convenience of highly processed breakfast foods like Pop-Tarts, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon French Toast Sticks.



And, we get it because we used to be there!

Whether it is for your kids, your grandkids, or someone you know (or maybe even you!), we want to help and give you ideas to help climb out of the breakfast processed food rut!  Get ready because we are going to throw a challenge your way every week during September because it happens to be "Better Breakfast Month!"

Last week, we mentioned a study showing that 67% of calories consumed by U.S. youths are coming from ultra-processed foods.  And, no one would argue that breakfast tends to be a processed foods paradise.

Why is this an unhealthy way to start the day?

In the morning chaos, it can be so tempting to grab a frozen pancake or waffle, throw a Pop-Tart in the toaster, pour a quick bowl of cereal, throw a breakfast bar in your bag, grab a donut or muffin on the way out the door, or hit the drive-thru on the way to school or work.  Unfortunately, many of these options contain…you guessed it, highly processed foods - which quickly turn to sugar.

They may make us feel full for a couple hours, but often leave us with a growling stomach by mid-morning.

These foods typically have long ingredient lists and are loaded with sugar.  For two Pop-Tart pastries...32 grams - or 8 tsp - of sugar!  Smart Start cereal (sounds healthy, right?)...18 grams - or 4.5 tsp - of sugar in 1 1/4 cups!  It is not uncommon for single-serving yogurts and smoothies to have over 20 grams  - or over 5 tsp - of added sugar!  And a blueberry muffin...we looked at one at our local store and it had over 35 grams - almost 9 tsp - of sugar!  Remember, the recommended limit for added sugar is 6-9 tsp for the ENTIRE day!


How can we focus on breakfast for kids, while keeping it healthy, convenient and enjoyable?


A few tips we have discovered along our REAL food journey:


  • Set up the expectations!  Have a conversation about how you are going to try some new things, and take on the Better Breakfast Month Challenge!  Who knows, you may hear your kids saying things like "Dang mom, these oatmeal things are really good!" (Actual quote from a teenager who enjoyed the Baked Oatmeal Cups.)
  • Involve the kiddos!  Let the kids be part of the planning and preparing process -- when they pick out ideas that sound good, and help make them, they will be much more willing to try new things.
  • Evaluate the comfort zone!  Initially, it may be easier to stay within the range of the kids' comfort zone and their preferences.  For example, our daughter likes sweet foods and the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (turned into muffins) is one of her favorites.  Then, our son prefers savory foods and is a big fan of the Breakfast Burritos.


Here are some great-tasting ideas, including cookies for breakfast!



What if you could ask your kids or grandkids, "Who wants a cookie for breakfast?" and feel good about it?  The Chunky Monkey Breakfast Cookies and the Chocolate Bliss Breakfast Cookies both include a delicious combination of REAL ingredients that you can feel good serving up to your kids to get their day off to a healthy start.  Make up a batch or two because they freeze great!  Leave some in the pantry or the fridge, and then freeze the rest and pull them out as needed.  Your kids may even enjoy them warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds to get that gooey consistency!


Smoothies...and popsicles and ice cream

(you read right, we said ice cream!).

What if you could get your kids to eat fruit and yogurt and almond milk for breakfast?  You would probably consider that a huge win, right?

Especially compared to those ultra-processed alternatives.  Of course, smoothies are a great choice if you can find a flavor combination they like, but why stop there?  Why not offer up a popsicle or a bowl of ice cream?  You may have them asking, "Really, I can have a popsicle or ice cream for breakfast?"  You can confidently say "YES!"  Try the Chocolate Banana Ice Cream, Mixed Berry Banana Ice Cream, Red, White & Blueberry Popsicles or the Berry Banana Popsicles.  Or, let your kids create their own flavor combinations!

Pancakes and waffles.

The beautiful thing about pancakes and waffles is you can make up a big batch on the weekend, and then pull them out of fridge or freezer and quickly re-heat them in the morning.  We like to warm ours up in the toaster to get a little crispiness on the outside but you can also warm them up in the microwave.  Kids can drizzle them with a little maple syrup or you can have some other healthy topping options available like berries, nuts, sliced bananas, yogurt, or a dollop of almond butter or peanut butter.

The Power Pancakes and Waffles are an ideal option, and so are the Banana Oat Pancakes, Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes, the Easy Pumpkin Pancakes or, believe it or not, even the Spaghetti Squash Pancakes!  A good combination of good carbs, protein and fiber is a great way to keep them nourished until lunchtime.


Most kids love burritos!  Plus, they are portable and you can make them up ahead of time and keep them in the fridge or freezer for an ideal grab-and-go option that will last all week long.  Because it is simply a variety of REAL ingredients rolled into a tortilla, the possibilities are endless.  Get your kids involved and wrap their favorite REAL food meal into a burrito for something they will look forward to.  Do your kids like Chicken Parmesan?  Wrap up leftovers from the Baked Chicken Parmesan into a flavor-loaded breakfast burrito.  In the morning, reheat them in the microwave, in the oven or on the stove...a couple of favorites include the Pesto Veggie Breakfast Burrito and the Chicken Bulgogi Breakfast Burrito.  And check out more tips in our coaching tip!


We all know the grab-and-go breakfast convenience of muffins.  Rather than eating the ultra-processed versions from the store or the coffee shop - many of which contain an entire day's worth of added sugar - you can make a batch at home and enjoy them all week long.

We LOVE turning the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread into muffins, and have found that kids also really enjoy the Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins and the Streusel Berry Muffins.  And, the best part?!  These all freeze beautifully!



Since breakfast arguably sets the tone for how we will eat the rest of the day…make sure you are fueling your kids with REAL ingredients!

Take our Better Breakfast Month Challenge!

Our challenge for this week:  offer your kids an "out of the ordinary" breakfast.

Maybe it's ice cream or popsicles, or make up a batch of pancakes or muffins using their favorite flavors, or wrap up their favorite REAL food meal in a tortilla for a nutritious breakfast burrito!

Then, please share your results so we can all learn together!


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