Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Do you find yourself always scrambling for healthy breakfast ideas for your kids each morning? They're starving and you want them to eat healthy but, more importantly, they need food FAST! What do you do? Don't worry. It's not as difficult as it might seem. Making small adjustments and adding or swapping ingredients can turn your every day breakfast recipes into healthy versions. Try these healthy breakfast ideas, tips, and tricks.  Then, follow the links throughout this page for specific healthy breakfast recipes (many shared by visitors like you).

Healthy BreakfastsMy son making an easy "fruit pizza" (on a 1/2 bagel) for breakfast.
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We'll start with some healthy breakfast ideas for 2 popular breakfast dishes that are not generally healthy:

Healthier Pancakes or Waffles

Grab the box of pancake or waffle mix and follow the directions – with a twist. There are ingredients to add to make the regular old pancakes a little bit healthier. Sometimes without the kids even knowing!

To add a little fiber, substitute ¼ cup of bran flour for regular flour. Until your family is used to the fiber, keep it in small amounts. The substitution of a little bit of bran will add fiber and not alter the taste or texture of the pancakes.

To add a bit of vitamin B, add a tablespoon of wheat germ or Brewer's yeast. The little bit will pack on the vitamins, but hardly alter the taste of the pancakes.

Top off the pancakes with fruit topping or low-sugar syrup.

Here are some more pancake tricks:

Substitute the oil with applesauce to reduce the fat and calories.

Add ½ cup of banana, oatmeal, apples, peaches or raisins to add flavor. The additions will also add vitamins that kids need daily to keep their systems strong!

If your kids want only plain pancakes or waffles and you fear they'll reject these changes, add just a few chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate is even better!) and they'll definitely try them!

Or try making the pancakes into shapes: Snowmen, Mickey Mouse,anything somewhat round will do.

Short on Time?

No time to make pancakes or waffles? My family's mornings are whirlwind-speed on weekdays. There are still plenty of ways to offer healthy breakfasts for kids... and Quick.

The healthier cereal companies are FINALLY starting to think about what kids like. Kids will try just about ANY cereal... IF the box is fun! Kashi and other healthy alternatives have started offering cereals aimed at children and, if you're lucky, your grocery store might not even put these on the regular cereal aisle. Look in the health-food section and see what they're offering now. If you keep the kids out of that "other" cereal aisle, they'll forget about the more colorful boxes before you know it!

Have you Seen the Muffin Man?

Kids LOVE muffins! Muffins are easy to grab and can be eaten while waiting for the bus or on the drive into school. Muffin recipes can be made healthier by including fruit, such as blueberries, bananas, raisins, peaches, pears or strawberries, and lowering the sugar and butter content. You can even add pumpkin, carrots, oatmeal, zucchini, or spinach the the ingredient list. Add just ¼ cup to get your vitamins in!

Yogurt doesn't have to be full of sugar...

I must admit that, to the outsider, our yogurt breakfasts sound decadent. Whenever I serve yogurt, my kids get to pick their "sprinkles." Yes, I put sugary sprinkles on top. However, I don't use many and the yogurt underneath has MUCH less sugar than most of the flavored yogurts out there. I buy some low-fat flavored yogurts and then a large tub of Plain, Fat-Free yogurt and I always mix the two.

Start small... If your kids are used to sugary yogurts, add just a small amount of plain yogurt to the bowl and see if they notice. I'll bet they don't. Each time, add a little more plain and a little less sugary yogurt. If they DO notice, here are some other tricks I've been known to use:

After mixing the plain with the flavored, I generally add a "beach" of wheat germ to the top (either in the center to become an island or along one half of the bowl.) Then, add just a few sprinkles to the other side... blue for water or I lucked into some dolphin-shaped sprinkles that the kids just love.

The kids now ask for "cereal" (it sounded better than wheat germ) on top and to pick out their sprinkles. Some days, they even ask to be surprised. They close their eyes until I have their bowl in front of them. It's become quite a game!

Don't Eat... Drink your Breakfast Instead

Some kids don't like to actually eat in the morning. They are groggy and don't like to get up or they just take awhile to become fully functioning.

So, make them a smoothie and they can drink breakfast. Smoothie basics are yogurt, milk and fruit. The best part is, you can make it up or mix and match almost any ingredients. Bananas, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, peaches and kiwi make for great fruit mixtures. Add low fat vanilla or plain mixed with flavored yogurt and then skim milk and mix.

Instead of using milk, you can also substitute 100% fruit juice. Orange, apple, grape and cranberry juices pack a lot of flavor into a cup and can help you get away with Plain yogurt rather than the sugary flavored versions. These can be chilled overnight and served frozen "slurpee" style or freshly made in the morning.

It's easy to make healthy breakfast recipes for kids out of smoothies. And the best part is that, if you tell the kids they can help mix it, they might even jump out of bed!

Check out our smoothie recipe pages:

How to Make Smoothies

Green Smoothies (sneak some veggies in)

More Smoothie Recipes

Other Favorite Healthy Breakfast Ideas...

More breakfast recipes for kids can be adapted from your family favorites to make them healthier. If you love scrambled eggs, add some wheat germ or cheese when stirring them up. If your kids won't eat eggs, try a REALLY sneaky trick:

It might sound absurd, but I actually made "Green Eggs and Ham" when my oldest son refused to eat eggs. Drop a couple of drops of blue food coloring (the yellow shade of the eggs mixes to a perfect green) while your scrambling up your eggs, and then cook as usual. Hint: An omelet looks a lot better than scrambled eggs when the finished product is bright green!

Make sure to read the book the night before so they'll remember the whole point... and, if you haven't already memorized much of it, make sure to learn a few lines so that you can say

"You do not like green eggs and ham?
Try them, Try them, Sam I am!"

My kids LOVE it when I make green eggs now... And they'll even try them when they're plain ol' yellow!

If a bowl of oatmeal is what the kids crave, spice it up with cinnamon, a tad of brown sugar, or better yet, blueberries or other fruits. My brother makes an oatmeal with about 6 fruits in it (from berries to bananas and even small pieces of apples.) It's absolutely delicious and the kids love it... but it DOES take a little time (unless you buy the fruit pre-cut.)

The key is to keeping them interested in the higher fiber, less sugary choices. I do the same trick here as with yogurt (because I'm lazy and our mornings are REALLY rushed)... I'll buy some flavored oatmeal packets - the grandparents spoiled them by introducing the flavors - AND some plain oatmeal, and then mix the two together (sometimes 2 plain to 1 flavored.) The kids have no idea it's not the full-sugar variety!

See? Healthy breakfast ideas for kids aren't as hard as you thought, are they? Getting your child to eat breakfast is half of the battle. Putting nutritious food in their tummies before they head off to school or daycare is important and will start the day off right.

Visit our page on Healthy Breakfast Recipes for tons of more specific healthy breakfast ideas.

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