Your Life: Think outside the cereal box for healthy breakfasts for kids

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Nutritionists will tell you that breakfast, especially for kids, is the most important meal of the day. But busy mornings often make it hard to make it healthy.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nutritionists will tell you that breakfast, especially for kids, is the most important meal of the day.

But busy mornings often make it hard to make it healthy.

Breakfast foods are tricky for kids, but Action News enlisted the help of a nutritionist to get us and our kids to think outside the cereal box and making the first meal of the day the one with the most nutritional punch.

Breakfast is often the last thought on busy minds at 6:30 a.m., taking a back seat to getting out the door.

"I think it's just the culture, quick and easy. Everybody likes the sugar, everyone has a sweet tooth," said nutritionist Raquel Redmon from the Wellness Integrative Health Center in Philadelphia.

Sweet doesn't exactly set you up for success, but Redmon says there are ways to make breakfast quick, easy and tasty for even the pickiest of eaters.

"New things make it more exciting. You can hide your veggies in there to get some extra protein and extra fiber," she said. "One of my favorite things is frozen bananas because so many times you buy bananas and they go bad."

Take a smoothie for example. You can pack it with kale, but the bananas and blueberries make it naturally sweet.

And speaking of bananas, you can make a great alternative to traditional banana bread with vanilla protein powder and replacing the butter with apple sauce.

So my 3 little taste testers gave it a try.

"Good!" they all cheered.

Even my picky third child, whose diet is often limited to plain pasta and yogurt squeezes, took the healthy leap and wanted his own.

And while oatmeal may seem like a snooze, here's a way to spice it up.

Add some quinoa for some extra protein and amino acids. I mixed it with honey, cinnamon, cherries and pears. Another hit with two of my three.

And there are plenty more tips to help your kids start their day on a healthier note.

The most important tip is prepare ahead of time and get your kids involved. Get the little bakers in the kitchen with you on Sundays and make meal preparations for the week a family activity.

Next, create a rewards chart. For every new breakfast food they try they get a star. When they reach ten stars, they get a reward.

Also, set an example by eating together with your kids. Adults are just as guilty of skipping out on the most important meal of the day or replacing protein with something quick and sugary. Make a point to let your kids see you eat a healthy breakfast.

Let your kids grocery shop with you. Letting them pick new foods gives them a sense of control. Help them understand making healthy choices can be fun.

If they don't like it, keep trying. Don't give up if they aren't thrilled with your first few experiments. Keep trying and ask for feedback. Kids are very good at being honest and they will tell you what they do or don't like.

Finally, try dinner for breakfast! Eggs and pancakes are often a dinner treat so why not make pasta and chicken a breakfast food! Add some cranberries or apples to it and you can still have that "sweet" taste but with a more nutrient dense meal.