7 Brain-Boosting Healthy Breakfasts for the Whole Family

Family at breakfast table
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You know that old saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? For school-age kids, there’s a lot of science to back up that adage. Eating breakfast has been associated with better academic performance and behavior in children.

Research has also shown that eating a breakfast that includes protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates can help keep blood sugar levels stable and support more sustained concentration and memory.

While a nutritious breakfast is a great way to start the day, any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. That said, if your child isn't used to eating breakfast, they'll likely need a transition into it.

Energizing Breakfast Ideas

Here are some quick and easy tips and ideas for breakfasts that are delicious and create sustained energy.

  1. Think outside the breakfast box. Breakfast doesn’t always have to mean toast and eggs. For a bit of variety—not to mention convenience, try heating up some leftovers. Got chicken from last nite’s dinner? Make a chicken breakfast burrito. Even spaghetti and meatballs can make a yummy breakfast with some steamed veggies to round out the meal. Who says dinner can't be breakfast the next day?
  2. Whip up a smoothie. Smoothies can often be a life-saver for busy parents. Just blend together a few ingredients and you’re out the door. If you're really running late, you can even take it with you in a travel cup. Try blending some frozen berries with a banana and yogurt or milk. (You can even add some baby spinach or chopped kale if you want to get in a serving of veggies. You can also add a spoonful of nut or seed butter and a handful of uncooked rolled oats to make an even more satisfying smoothie.) Delicious, nutritious, fast, and portable—it's the perfect breakfast for a busy school morning.
  3. Boil some eggs. Boiled eggs are a no-fuss way to add protein to breakfast. Make some the night before to save time in the morning. Serve with a slice of whole-grain toast or English muffin with some fruit and voila! You have a wonderful balanced breakfast.
  4. Try a nut or seed butter. Serve up peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter on whole-grain toast for a protein boost. You can add some honey or jam for some sweetness. Try pouring a glass of milk or kefir or adding a bowl of yogurt for a breakfast with some staying power.
  5. Offer some fish. Who says you can't have fish for breakfast? Salmon and tuna contain protein and can be added to a variety of breakfasts. These fish also healthy omega 3 fatty acids which are used in cell membranes in the body (including in the brain). Try some tuna or salmon salad or smoked salmon with cream cheese on a bagel.
  6. Include some fiber. When it comes to choosing a breakfast cereal, opting for one that lists whole grains as one of the first ingredients means you'll be getting more fiber per serving, which can help keep energy levels stable for longer. If a higher fiber cereal isn't your jam, adding berries or banana to the top or eating a piece of fruit on the side adds some fiber to the meal. 
  7. Don't skip carbs. Carbohydrates are our brain's preferred source of fuel, so it's important to include them in breakfast. While higher fiber carb options, like whole-grain cereals and toast or oatmeal, might keep you feeling fuller and energized longer, partnering any carbohydrate with something that has fat in it and a source of protein will also create more sustained energy. If you or your child prefers white bread or cereals that don't have much fiber, try pairing these options with a hard-cooked egg, yogurt with fruit, or nut/seed butter and fruit.

Once you get your kid into the habit of having something in the morning, he’ll be less likely to pass it up. And be sure to set a good example by eating something yourself; your child is less likely to balk at breakfast if you’re having something together.

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