Some mornings, in the chaos of trying to find lost shoes and homework, I struggle to ensure that my children have had a nutritious breakfast before heading out the door.
I decided that this school year it will be different, so I asked Nutritional Therapist Sally Nash for some inspiration on easy, wholesome breakfast plans that will keep the whole family’s energy levels and brains going until lunchtime.
Sally explains that the sugary breakfast cereals we so often rely on give the body a short burst of carbohydrate. What would benefit our kids more are slower release forms of carbohydrates and breakfasts that incorporate protein. She recommends oats in porridge form with added fruit and yoghurt. A sprinkle of nuts and seeds on top provides protein and essential fatty acids for those busy brains.
In terms of pre-packaged cereals, Sally likes Lizi’s Granola or an excellent cereal from BEAR called Alphabites which are wholegrain multigrain cereal letter shapes sweetened with coconut nectar rather than refined sugar. Sally explains that coconut nectar helps maintain energy levels for longer and kids love spelling out naughty words with their cereal as an added bonus!
Eggs are also an excellent breakfast option as they are a fantastic source of protein. Try a dippy egg served with one slice of wholemeal or rye toast soldiers. If you have time, an omelette made with tiny chopped up vegetables such as peppers, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs are very healthy, and you can add a bit of cheese for added flavour and calcium.
Pancakes and buckwheat pancakes are also a great start to the day for children according to Sally. Buckwheat is a non-gluten grain derived from rhubarb. Pancakes served with fresh berries, a sprinkling of nuts, a dollop of natural yoghurt and perhaps a dash of coconut, agave nectar or honey will sweeten them up perfectly. If you make a bunch of pancakes on a Sunday night for example, they freeze well and you can pop them in the toaster to defrost and serve during the week.
For time efficient healthy breakfasts, smoothies are an excellent option and kids enjoy making them. Put some fresh fruit such as bananas, mixed berries and so forth into a blender. Add some unsweetened coconut water, chia seeds for protein and perhaps a couple of tablespoonfuls of natural yoghurt, then blend and serve. For added protein or a dairy free option, add half a packet of silken tofu.