With the return of school comes the age-old question, "What do you want for breakfast?"
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day -- or at least it's the first meal of the day, and the day always seems to go better when it starts with a good meal. I still remember being a kid in class and watching the second hand on the clock ticktock as if in slow motion just waiting for lunch to come because I was so-starving-I-could-barely-concentrate!
But kids can be picky and annoying in the morning -- like this morning when I made smoothies. My littlest said she didn't want one at all, but my teenager did, yet the results were that my littlest declared it "was a GREAT smoothie" while my teenager said it was good but she couldn't finish it.
As a parent, we take every little victory we can. So here are my top 10 suggestions for back-to-school breakfasts that are organic and healthy and will put your kids in a good mood to start their day:
1. Smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to get rid of too much fruit, especially fruit that no one would eat whole. Plus, you can sneak all sorts of healthy things into them. And they're easy because a good smoothie consists of just three things: Fruit (and vegetables, if you're adventurous), liquid, and ice. For liquid you can go dairy, dairy substitute, or juice. I love to use coconut water because, honestly, coconut water is gross to drink by itself (my personal opinion). For protein you can add organic protein powders or nuts. There is no right or wrong here -- just experiment!
2. Eggs. Yes, we are a high egg consuming/whole egg household. We make them fried, scrambled, in sandwiches, hard-boiled, in omelets (add some spinach or kale), and poached. But if you know another way, you could make that, too. One of the classic breakfast egg dishes my mother made for me was cut-up hot dogs scrambled with eggs. Yum. Now my kids love it, too. Just make sure the hot dogs are organic!
3. Speaking of hot dogs, BACON, and other proteins.... School-day mornings can be a hard time to make bacon (leaves the kitchen a mess before work!), but there's something deeply satisfying to the stomach about eating good breakfast meat, which is really any meat -- especially cold leftover meat. Even fried chicken! You can try my breakfast sausage patties, too. If you eat some meat for breakfast, you won't be starving before lunch.
4. Fish. Fish is another great breakfast protein. We love smoked salmon on toast or a bagel (with cream cheese or without). Or even leftover cooked salmon or trout from the night before. I mean, you do have to wash up well and brush your teeth so you don't smell like fish all day, but fish is good for your body and great for your brain. And if there's one thing you need for school, it's a well-fed brain.
5. Yogurt. Particularly organic probiotic yogurt. I love to add ingredients to it -- especially a protein like nuts. One of our favorites is plain Greek yogurt with applesauce, maple syrup, and walnuts. YUM! Add some fiber-packed chia seeds so you can feel current with the times. Just check your teeth before you leave the house.
6. Soup. I know this sounds crazy, but my kids love soup for breakfast -- especially if it's homemade (which means it's leftover soup because there's no way I'm making soup from scratch for breakfast).
7. Cheese. Again, a little protein and some fat can do wonders for getting you off to a great start. An organic slice or two or a cheese stick, along with some fruit (an apple or even dried fruit), makes a quick, easy meal -- with no dishes to clean up!
8. Quesadillas. Take a whole grain flour or corn tortilla, heat it in a pan; add a filling like cheese, fried or scrambled eggs, or anything you want, including hot sauce/salsa, and voilà, olé! It's a brand-new day! It's even portable for eating on the bus or in the car (unless your car is new).
9. Carbs. Carbs are OK (and I'm talking about breads, cereals, muffins, croissants, donuts), though they're not the best for keeping your stomach happy all morning long, in my humble opinion. But in a pinch they work -- and they are quick, easy, and mostly nutritious. Again, adding protein like a nut butter, cream cheese, milk, or just plain butter (is that a protein? Doesn't matter, it's good!). There's also oatmeal. Instant is fine, but homemade tastes so much better. Try it with a bit of brown sugar and walnuts!
10. Leftovers. Don't be afraid to eat dinner for breakfast. Or lunch for breakfast. As long as it tastes good, isn't too old, and fills you up, it's great! Don't limit yourself to what breakfast is "supposed" to be. The most important thing breakfast is supposed to be is nutritious and filling -- fuel to start the day off right.