(Healthy Breakfast Options and Why They Matter)
~ a guest post written by Jaclyn Harwell *see her bio at the end of this post ~
A note from Raising Natural Kids: We love Jaclyn’s healthy breakfast options! In addition to these, we get greens into ourselves and our kids each morning as the nutrients in both sea greens and earth greens feed cells the nutrients that they need. You can do this by mixing a quality green drink powder (one that’s organic and processed using very low heat) in lemon water or by making your own if you have time.
I’ve been seeing folks cheering left and right that their children are headed back to school. It’s that time again, and with the rejoicing will come the inevitable stress of packing bags and planning meals. While everyone’s definition of a healthy, before-school breakfast is different, some key components can make or break your kid’s day, depending on what he eats.
If you want to give your child a shot at having a great day at school, full of learning, good behavior (for many kids what they eat makes a huge difference with this), and forging friendships, you’ve got to make sure your child’s breakfast isn’t sabotaging him.
Foods That Sabotage Your Child’s Day
Let’s take a look at some popular breakfast foods:
Freezer pastries and waffles
I could go on and on about the poor food choices available to today’s children, but you see where I’m going with this. No one faults parents for needing fast, easy meals as they rush out the door in the mornings, but let’s take a look at some of the ingredients in these popular foods so we can see how they could affect your child.
Most of the foods above contain refined, processed flours and grains. Cereals are made of highly processed, indigestible grains, and contain synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Many cereals, pop-tarts, and other pastries contain food coloring and preservatives. Some processed breakfast meats contain sodium nitrate, and all of these foods contain sugar.
You may wonder what the big deal is with these ingredients. After all, everyone knows it’s better to eat a less-than-ideal breakfast than nothing at all, right?
These ingredients all interfere with brain health, as well as blood sugar, and can set your child up for failure.
The refined grains and sugars cause a sharp blood sugar spike, which later leaves kids cranky and hungry. Nitrates, sugar, food coloring and preservatives can interfere with kids’ brain health, causing their brains cells to misfire, and leading them to an early cell death.
Instead of setting your child up for failure, what can you feed him to ensure he has a good day?
A better before-school healthy breakfast plan
Your child needs some specific nutrients to ensure her brain functions well, her blood sugar stays stabilized, and her body maintains sufficient energy levels.
Did you know that our brains are made primarily of fat? So, what your child’s brain needs to thrive at school, packing in lots of info, and keeping a pleasant attitude, is plenty of brain-nourishing fat.
Good ways to get in healthy fats include avocado, egg yolks, butter, bacon, sausage (organic and grass fed), and whole, raw milk.
Not coincidentally, the above foods also contain protein. It’s important to give your kiddo a fair start with lots of protein, to ensure he stays satiated and focused.
Grassfed meats, raw milk, eggs, plain yogurt, and nuts are good sources of protein.
While the foods on the “no” list are full of unhealthy carbs, that doesn’t mean your kiddo doesn’t need some sugars to give him sustained energy as he goes through his school day.
Swap out junky, refined carbs for white and sweet potatoes, apple slices, or a banana, which will help to raise the blood sugar to increase energy stores without leaving your kiddo to crash later.
A perfect before-school healthy breakfast
I understand the need for a quick breakfast before school, but I also know you know it’s important to give your child’s brain and body what it needs.
Here are some ideas that serve both purposes.
- Fry an egg and top half an avocado with it, then serve it up with a glass of raw milk. Why raw? Processed milk cannot be digested properly by most people causing issues with the gut and increased mucus production. It also blocks calcium absorption.
- A couple of sausage patties with a glass of raw milk has lots of fat and protein. Make sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week that you can quickly heat up and top with some butter to serve up on the side.
- Make a smoothie that contains raw milk or coconut milk, frozen fruit, a banana, and a handful of greens, and your kiddo can even drink it on the way in a squeeze.
- Serve up a bowl of plain yogurt with a dollop of honey and some fruit and nuts.
- Make a batch of muffins and freeze some in the beginning of the week so you have them to last through the end of the week. Make sure at add chopped nuts and ground flax for added protein and nutrition.
- Slow cooked oatmeal doesn’t really take all that long to cook. Add honey, ground nuts and fruit for added protein and nutrients. Avoid using the instant oatmeal as the way it is processed actually makes it so your blood sugar spikes and then crashes.
You can mix and match eggs, fruit, nuts, breakfast meats, and high-quality dairy in any number of ways to provide your child a square before-school breakfast.
Just plan ahead, cook things ahead of time, and get creative. Even better, delegate some of the task to your child, if you can. Your child will love helping you plan out breakfasts, and allowing her to contribute ideas to breakfast ensures she’ll eat it.
Conventional breakfast choices leave kids cranky, hungry, and spacey. Give them a breakfast you can feel good about, that will help them stay sharp and satiated through a long morning at school.
The extra effort will be worth it as they feel better and perform better.
For some healthy breakfast recipes that my kids love, check out my bullet-proof chocolate milk, banana protein pudding, or grain-free buttermilk biscuits. Healthy, kid-pleasing breakfasts are on the way!
What are your best before-school breakfast suggestions?
About the Author:
When Jaclyn became a mom more than eight years ago, health food was the last thing on her mind, but when her son began to struggle with behavioral disorders, she dove in headfirst to begin learning about how to live and eat naturally. Since switching to a paleo diet and doing the GAPS diet, her children have been healed of behavioral disorders, eczema, and digestive problems, and her own thyroid disorder has been healed. Today, she blogs about raising her four boys to be happy and healthy at The Family That Heals Together.
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