After a summer spent sleeping in, waking up early can be a tough adjustment for parents and children alike. A hot, nutritious meal may be the furthest thing from your mind as you throw a cereal bar in Junior’s face and wish him a happy school day.
The following recipes rely on basic staples, which are often the cheapest items in the grocery store, and basic nutrition to create easy homemade breakfasts that will give kids the energy they need to do their best in school.
The great thing about pancake batter is that it can be stored in the fridge for several days. Whip up a batch on Monday morning (or better yet, Sunday night) and have it ready to go for the rest of the week. Store it in a pitcher so the batter can be poured directly on to the pan.
If you are running really short on time, grab a box of pancake mix and throw in any or all of the following: wheat germ, nutritional yeast, powdered kelp, mashed banana or other fruit. For extra protein power, add peanut or other nut butter. If you feel you have made the pancakes “too healthy” for your kids, don’t hesitate to add a few semi-sweet chocolate chips.
A simple pancake recipe, courtesy of King Arthur Flour:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar OR 1/4 cup malted milk powder
1. Beat the eggs and milk until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed of a stand or hand mixer. Stir in the butter or vegetable oil.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener.
3. Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes, while the griddle is heating; it will thicken slightly.
4. Heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat, or set an electric griddle to 375°F. Lightly grease frying pan or griddle. The pan or griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.
5. Drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. Bake on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, about 2 minutes; then turn the pancakes and cook the other side until brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn over only once. Serve immediately.
Throw stuff in a blender and push a button. Can it be any easier? The Basic Smoothie Recipe consists of yogurt, milk and fruit. It is up to you to get creative. Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi and peaches are great choices, and while you're at it, throw in a carrot, Non one but you will ever know. Use cow’s milk, soy milk or substitute with fruit juice instead. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt, add some honey if you are feeling generous, don’t forget the healthy additives, like wheat germ, and...Voila! Breakfast is served!
If you have the time to turn on the frying pan, whip up some eggs, add grated cheese and whatever leftover meat/protein you have in the fridge, then make a delicious Scramble. This is a great hot breakfast that will keep little tummies full for hours to come.
Of course, cereal is the go-to easy breakfast, but unfortunately for children, most cereals are composed of white flour and sugar, without much nutritional content. Look for brands that use whole grains and do not contain high fructose corn syrup or chemical dyes. Try adding fruit to your child’s cereal, like peaches, bananas or berries, for added nutrition.
Alternatively, you can make your own granola, which can be eaten with milk or in the ever-popular and convenient bar form. If you make a large batch, it can last several weeks, thereby cutting down on your time in the kitchen. Check out this great recipe from Alton Brown.
If muffins are made ahead of time, they can be a healthy grab-and-go option.
The following recipes are kid and mom-approved: