3 Ways to Power Up Breakfast

3 Ways to Power Up Breakfast

In the May issue of Parents I share 22 ways to break out of your breakfast rut, from awesome add-ins for eggs to easy make-ahead options. I loved making this list, but let’s just say I didn’t always practice what I preached.

Weekday breakfasts can be…uninspired. At least at my house. At least until recently. Rosa lives for breakfast; in fact most days I think it’s the only reason she gets out of bed. On the weekends her go-to breakfast is an egg on a bagel along with whatever smoothie I’m blending up that morning. On weekdays, for the longest time, she just ate cereal for breakfast. We’d alternate between Cracklin’ Oat Bran (her all-time fave—mine too!) and some other relatively low-sugar option.

But for the last few months I’ve been making more of an effort, mostly because breakfast is a great opportunity to add extra nutrition to your child’s (and your) diet. Some breakfast is better than no breakfast, of course. But we can do better than that. Here are three easy ways to power up breakfast:

Be Fruitful: This has been our biggest morning meal makeover: Every day I make sure Rosa is eating some fresh fruit in addition to whatever else she’s having. Some days it’s a generous handful of (out-of-season) berries or her current favorite, a half-grapefruit sprinkled with a little sugar. I’m not talking about juice here, but whole fruits packed with fiber since a fiber-rich breakfast helps keep hunger pangs at bay. And, in terms of nutrition, a little fruit can go a long way. A ½ cup of halved strawberries sprinkled on cereal provides nearly 75% of a day’s Vitamin C requirement. A banana mashed on peanut butter toast adds six grams of fiber to your breakfast, along with a hefty dose of potassium.

Add an Egg: As mentioned, we love eggs, especially Rosa. She would eat two a day every day if I let her, and often I do. Eggs have traditionally been a weekend breakfast food in our house, but I’m making more of an effort to incorporate them into weekday morning meals. This could be as easy as microwaving a 60-Second Egg (recipe in Real Baby Food), warming up leftover frittata, or halving a hard-boiled egg and sprinkling it with salt. A single egg offers six grams of protein, a nutrient that helps wake up sleepy brains.

Go Nuts: For protein, fiber, and healthy fats in a single scrumptious package look no further than creamy, delicious almond butter or peanut butter. Recent studies have shown that the more nuts people eat, the less likely they are to die of any cause, but especially heart disease and stroke. So slather some on toast, or add a tablespoon to a smoothie. For a complete breakfast spread nut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, add a whole banana, roll, and slice into Banana Breakfast “Sushi”. Healthy and fun. What’s not to love?

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast? Your kid’s?

Jenna Helwig