Breakfast Ideas for Kids
Importance of Breakfast for Kids
If your kids are like mine were when they were little, lunchtime was for playing or chatting with friends, and eating was an irritating distraction. Packed lunches came home minus two or three bites, and kids came home hungry and grouchy. I began cooking hearty meals for breakfast to ensure they had enough fuel to last the day.
Breakfast Aids Concentration
Even if your children do eat lunch, a substantial breakfast is a great way to start their day. Children who eat breakfast are better able to concentrate in school, and some schools even have breakfast clubs for kids who weren’t getting fed at home. Many cereals marketed toward children are sugary; foods high in sugar are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and the body then produces more insulin to balance blood sugar levels. This leads to an energy slump.
As kids grow up, instead of neglecting lunch, they often lose interest in breakfast. Therefore I have included some easy to eat (or drink) breakfasts based on fruit and yogurt.
Speedy Breakfast Ideas (Easy to Prepare the Night Before!)
Most parents don't have time to spend hours in the kitchen in the morning, while also trying to get kids ready for school, so these recipes are either quick to do or can be prepared the evening before.
This article contains recipes:
For younger kids:
- Homemade baked beans with eggs and sautéed potatoes
- Fun, easy (and pretty) french toast
- For little kings and queens: Purple Porridge (oatmeal)
- Fruit salad with yogurt
- Granola with stewed apples and yogurt
- Smoothie with avocado and yogurt
Of course, it's okay for teenagers to eat the other breakfasts too!
Homemade Baked Beans
The breakfast I most often fed my kids when they were little was a vegetarian version of the full British breakfast. This has a reputation for being unhealthy, but it doesn’t need to be. A poached egg and home-made “baked beans” have lots of protein to see your little ones through the day and the tomato sauce for the beans provides vitamin C and around 2 portions of your kid’s 5-a-day veg. The baked beans are in quotations because really there is no baking involved, the cooking is done on the stovetop or hob.
You can make the beans the day before and reheat, or if you have a slow cooker, you could cook the sauce overnight in that, and add the beans in the morning. (The beans must be fast boiled.)
Cook Time and Yield
This will be enough for 6 to 8 servings. It keeps in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also freeze it.
Preparation time (not including soaking time) is 15 minutes.
Cook time is 30 minutes if using a pressure cooker (this includes cooling time) or 90 minutes not using a pressure cooker.
Ingredients for the "Baked Beans"
- 200g/8oz/1 cup grams dried navy (or haricot) beans
- water for soaking and fresh water for cooking beans
- 1 to 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 600g/21oz tomatoes, any kind
- 1 tablespoon molasses
Preparing the sauce
Approximate Nutritional Value of the Baked Beans With a Poached Egg
|Serving size: 200 gram|
|Calories from Fat||63|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 7 g||11%|
|Saturated fat 2 g||10%|
|Carbohydrates 19 g||6%|
|Sugar 5 g|
|Fiber 6 g||24%|
|Protein 10 g||20%|
|Cholesterol 169 mg||56%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
- Cover the beans with roughly double their volume in water, and soak the beans for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse, then place in a pan or pressure cooker, again with double their volume of water. They will take around 20 minutes in a pressure cooker or 1 hour to 90 minutes in an ordinary pot. If you use a pressure cooker check instructions as some cookers are faster than others. If boiling in an ordinary pot, the beans are ready when they are soft.
- Warm the olive oil in a pan, and add the onion and spices. Cook for 5 minutes.
- If using large tomatoes, roughly chop them. There is no need to do this with cherry tomatoes.
- Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook until you have a soft but still fairly runny sauce. This will take about 20 - 25 minutes, or you could cook this in a slow cooker overnight.
- Add the molasses, and stir round.
- Puree the sauce.
- Add the beans, warm through and serve.
- Serve with a poached egg and sautéed potatoes or toast. To poach the eggs, boil a pan of water, crack the eggs one at a time into a cup and tip into the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. To sauté the potatoes, cut into slices, boil for 10 minutes and then fry in a little oil in a wok.
Making This Ahead the Night Before?
If preparing the evening before, make the beans up all the way through and boil the potatoes. Cool and store in the fridge overnight. Reheat beans and sauté potatoes in the morning.
Fun, Easy (and Pretty) French Toast
Another breakfast my kids love, and that provides protein while being very quick to do is French Toast—or as we British sometimes call it Eggy Bread. My version of this uses wholemeal bread, which most people would say is impossible for French toast, but I’ve found that if you omit the milk it works just fine. Another advantage of missing out the milk is that the bread does not go soggy and so you can make it with a good thick slice for each person.
My girls like the French toast with stewed or fresh fruit, but you could also omit the cinnamon and serve it with tomatoes or mushrooms.
- 1 egg per person
- a sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)
- 1 thick slice of wholegrain bread per person
- sunflower oil
- In a shallow bowl (a cereal bowl is ideal) beat the egg with a fork.
- Place the bread in the bowl and let it soak up the egg. It absorbs about half. Turn it over and let it absorb the rest.
- Warm a little oil in a frying pan—if you have a spray you can use this, or else swirl about a teaspoon of oil in the pan.
- Add the egg and cook over a low-to-medium heat until the underside is golden brown. Then turn over and cook the other side. Cooking over fairly low heat in this way allows the heat to penetrate right through the bread and so the egg cooks through.
- Now comes the fun part:
- Transfer the cooked bread onto a plate and with a large round cutter (or an egg ring for frying eggs) cut out a circle. If your cutter is big enough all you will cut away is the crusts. If your cutter is smaller you can use the extra pieces to decorate.
- Now let your kids arrange their toast circle and fruit in any way they want.
- Watch them wolf it down, while you eat the scraps!
For little Kings and Queens: Purple Porridge (Oatmeal)
Some kids love oatmeal; some are not so keen. It looks a bit dull and uninteresting, but it is easy to jazz it up. I have experimented with several fruits, and frozen blueberries are best of all. Adding them to the mix creates the vivid purple shown in the photos. Dried or fresh blueberries don’t produce nearly such a strong color, though you could try stewing the berries first till they released their color before adding the oats.
Purple is the color associated with royalty so your little one will be a king or queen when eating this.
For each adult or older child:
- 50 g/2oz/half a cup oatmeal/rolled oats
- 100ml/4fl oz/1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons frozen blueberries
To serve: yogurt and honey
(A small child will need around half this quantity, depending on appetite.)
- Add all ingredients to the pot and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until the water is absorbed and the berries have painted everything purple.
- Transfer to cereal bowls and add yogurt and honey to taste.
For little princesses? A pink variation!
For a soft pink effect, instead of the blueberries, add about 6 chopped strawberries per person and cook as above.
Breakfasts for Teenagers
Fruit and yogurt-based breakfasts are easy to eat and have plenty of nutrients and protein. Here are 3 variations. These are also great for kids who have lost their appetite after an illness.
Allow at least 80 grams/3oz/half a cup of chopped fruit person.
Choose any fruits your teenagers enjoy. We chose 1 apple, 1 banana, 3 apricots, 1 nectarine, 2 plumbs and some strawberries.
- Chop into even sized pieces.
- Add a spash of apple juice
- Serve with 100ml/4fl oz/half a cup of yogurt.
Granola With Yogurt and Stewed Apple
This recipe makes enough to last for several days. On the first day serve the granola hot from the oven.
- 175g/6oz/2 cups jumbo oats (for North American readers: these are bigger than ordinary rolled oats.)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or rapeseed oil
- 100g/4oz/⅔ cup mixed nuts and seeds (use your favorite or vary it from time to time; this time we used sunflowers seeds and pecans)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cereal flakes—e.g., rice or spelt flakes
- Optional: you can also add a tablespoon of coconut flakes or desiccated coconut with the nuts.
One apple per person.
2 -3 tablespoons of yogurt per person
- Preheat oven to 160°c/325°/gas mark 3
- Place the oats and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Add the honey and oil and mix well.
- Spread evenly in a greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the tray from the oven, add the nuts and flakes, stir in and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, stew the apples. To do this, peel, core and chop apples, and place in a pot with about a tablespoon of water per apple. Cook until soft and then mash with a potato masher. (To save time in the morning you could cook the apples the night before or serve with raw fruit such as berries or bananas.)
- Layer the apple yogurt and granola in a sundae dish. (Or just serve in a cereal bowl.)
Mango and Avocado Smoothie
The fruit suggested here create a smoothie that is high in vitamin C, and has around 18% of daily fiber requirements. While at only 135 calories it is not likely to fill your teenager up for long, it is better than going to school on an empty stomach and then eating doughnuts!
- 1 small avocado
- 1 mango
- 10 strawberries
- 1 banana
- 3 - 4 tablespoons low-fat yogurt
- half a cup of coconut water (ordinary water will do if you don’t have any)
Serves 4 (or 2 hungry teens).
Blend all ingredients together. Add more liquid or yogurt if needed, and serve.
With thanks to Kelley Ward, whose recipe Cherry Jam Milkshake introduced me to the idea of using avocado in smoothies.