Everyone needs a good start in the morning, which means a nutritious breakfast. This is particularly important for children, who are likely to burn off a lot of energy on the way to school and during morning classes. However, time is usually restricted in the morning, especially when busy parents are getting ready for work at the same time. Following are some ideas to tempt children?s palates first thing in the morning without taking a huge amount of time.
The nutritional benefits of oats are widely touted. Staffordshire-style oatcakes from the UK (very different from the Scottish variety) can easily be made the night before. When stuffed with scrambled eggs mixed with onions, pepper and spinach, they provide an excellent start to the day. They can also be stuffed with cheese and mushroom, or anything else that appeals. The end result is best served hot, but can also be rolled up like a burrito and eaten on the way to school.
Cereal is a popular breakfast choice, but can be immensely boring after a while. A quick and easy alternative is a breakfast cookie or two. Made primarily from grains, the commercial variety is usually full of extra vitamins and minerals, but you can also make your own and add in whatever the family enjoys, including nuts and dried fruit. Again, they can be eaten on the run if necessary, but a drink should accompany them, and there is a risk of smaller children choking.
For the reluctant breakfast eater, fruit smoothies can be a great choice because they are filling and highly nutritious. Commercial varieties are readily available, and generic brands at least are a reasonable price. However, they are also quick and easy to make at home and can be prepared the night before if time is at a premium in the morning. Slip in some vegetables along with the fruit for an extra injection of nutrients.
Another possibility for breakfast is soup. Although usually confined to lunch and dinner menus, a thick soup can be a delicious alternative on a cold winter morning, particularly for those who prefer a savory start to the day. For those with a sweeter tooth, pumpkin soup is a delicious option. When eaten with a piece of wholegrain bread and low-fat spread, it should provide plenty of energy for the coming morning and can be prepared quickly and easily. Ideally, it should be made at home with plenty of vegetables and grains added in, but commercial varieties are a good choice.
Pierogi are little dumplings of vegetables, cheese and sometimes meat wrapped in unleavened dough. Traditionally Polish, they can be bought ready-made and then either fried or boiled. Obviously the boiled variety is healthier and, when it comes in a soup, it precludes the need for an extra drink. It can be made at home by following a simple recipe; the results can then be frozen and cooked as needed. Chinese jiaozi are another possibility, especially the vegetable varieties, and some children may enjoy trying something a little different.
With a little bit of imagination and a desire to go beyond traditional breakfast ideas, children, and their parents, can have a healthy breakfast that doesn?t take long to prepare and will provide them with plenty of energy for the day ahead.