3 Better School Breakfast Options for Kids
There’s the familiar school day scene: Parents pushing breakfast at their half-awake kids as the carpool honks outside, a perpetual sense of mayhem. And then there are the kids at the bus stop, often eating what looks like parts of their lunch for breakfast.
We’re big on ‘no judgment’ regarding food and nutrition. However, in this case of bus-stop-breakfasts, it’s less about judgment and more about knowing just how much better kids can feel if they fuel their bodies well.
Research indicates that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school, get sick less often and are less likely to be overweight. A nourishing breakfast on a busy school morning can be easier said than done, so here are a few tips to help make mornings a little easier.
- Breakfast doesn’t have to be the instant you get out of bed (aim for something within two hours or so).
- Breakfast also doesn’t have to consist of just breakfast food, and it doesn’t even have to be at home. If kids have a mid-morning break, plan for a nourishing snack that can pull double-duty as a late breakfast.
- Aim to include a source of protein to increase alertness and focus and to help kids stay fuller until lunchtime.
- Add energy-boosting carbohydrates, including fiber-rich foods like whole grain breads, cereals or fresh fruit.
- Make sure there’s a bit of fat. An entirely fat-free breakfast can leave kids feeling hungry sooner.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’re seeing at bus stops, with better-for-you alternatives to help kids start their day well:
Twizzlers + OJ - This high-sugar option equates to 380 calories, 89 grams carbohydrate, 59 grams sugar (26 grams added sugar), 2 grams protein
Better Bet: Fruit-flavored protein-rich yogurt + Vitaminwater Zero Sugar
100 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 5 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 15 grams protein
Protein-rich yogurt examples include Oikos Triple Zero, Two Good and Siggi’s yogurt
World’s Finest Chocolate + Coca-Cola - Equates to 560 calories, 101 grams carbohydrate, 97 grams added sugar, 3 grams protein
Better Bet: Protein-rich low-sugar granola bar + BodyArmour Lyte
240 calories, 37 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 14 grams sugar (7 added sugar), 23 grams protein
Protein-rich granola bar examples include Kind Breakfast Protein Bar and Nature Valley Protein Bar
Chips and Boost - Equates to 540 calories, 77 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 15 grams added sugar, 14 grams protein
Better Bet: Egg muffin (recipe below), egg bites or hardboiled egg + bottle of Fairlife milk
310 calories, 19 grams carbohydrate, 1.5 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 27 grams protein
You can find egg bites at Costco, Target, Walmart or Whole Foods. Make hardboiled eggs at home with whole eggs, or you can also buy pre-made hardboiled eggs at Costco.
Make-ahead egg muffin. It’s sort of like an omelet that can be made ahead – and it’s portable – plus it’s an excellent way to incorporate plants into breakfast (e.g., low-sodium canned beans, fresh spinach, leftover veggies from last night’s dinner). Try using one whole egg (several essential nutrients are only found in the yolk) and egg whites for a low-fat, protein-packed breakfast. Serve with antioxidant-rich fresh fruit for a source of energy-boosting carbohydrates. For the full recipe, cook instructions and nutritional information, click here.
Want more? Check out Molly’s podcast featuring nearly four dozen good-for-you Costco finds (including breakfast options), and coming soon, her FUELED Wellness + Nutrition podcast episode that dives even deeper into this topic of ‘Stuff I see kids eating for breakfast at the bus stop.’
To schedule a nutrition consult, whether virtually or in person, contact us at email@example.com or call us at 985-898-7050.
Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples, nor is she paid to recommend items. This originally appeared on WGNO’s “Get FUELED with Molly” segment