I’ve been investing some time in my breakfast lately and it makes the world of difference to my mood, concentration and snack cravings. And as a primary school teacher, I can tell you that children’s concentration is vital in the classroom, so it’s definitely worth investing some time in getting a filling and healthy breakfast into your brood before they start the day. Plus it will make them much more reasonable human beings later in the day… is that wishful thinking?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A BREAKFAST?
Just like every other meal or snack in the day, breakfast is a wonderful opportunity to offer foods rich in nutrients. A bowl of healthy breakfast cereal with milk will provide key nutrients such as calcium, fibre, iron and b vitamins, as well as that all-important energy.
When you’re shopping for a breakfast cereal, take a quick look at the nutritional info and compare a few side-by-side. I always aim to search for the lowest sugar content and it’s worth taking a quick look at the salt too. Weetabix and Shredded Wheat Bitesize, or the non-brand equivalent tend to be the option with the lowest sugar.
I look for low-sugar granola to sprinkle on top of these fairly bland breakfast cereals to add interest and boost the nutritional content further. Be warned, many healthy-looking mueslis and granolas are frighteningly high in sugar, so pick very carefully.
Natural yoghurt will also go really well with granola or muesli. I like to add a little squeeze of honey or agave sugar to suit my slightly sweeter palate, although I will always go a little bonkers on chia seeds and fresh fruits if I have some available.
If your kids prefer something on toast or bread, nut butter is perfect to get a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats. Mixing up which type of bread you buy each week will also provide a variety of nutritional benefits over the longer term.
You can also team toast up with an egg in the form of soldiers! Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and fat along with tonnes of other vital nutrients, so getting the children into them young is a bonus. Make up a big batch of boiled eggs in advance to keep in the fridge so you can offer them at a moment’s notice.
And let’s not forget the Mighty Oat. If porridge was a person, it would be dressed up as Elton John, wearing a diamante crown and an elephant on his back. Oats are a nutritional superfood and go with pretty much everything. I can vouch for the fact that the latest trend of soaking them overnight makes them the ultimate convenience food too.
HOW TO MIX IT UP ON THE WEEKENDS
Jazzed up breakfasts are a lovely way to mark the weekend as different from the weekends. Pancakes on Saturday mornings taught my son the concept of a weekend when he was only small and we still have this tradition now.
We tend to have pancakes on Saturdays and a fry up of sorts on Sundays. It’s an amazing way to build family traditions that last through the years.
Do you have any family breakfast rituals?