We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sometimes it can be hard to find nutritious options for our children that also appeal to their little palates. Here are some of our favorite Lower Sugar Breakfast Ideas for Kids to get your morning off to a good start!
Since my second son seems to be particularly sensitive to sugar in his diet (meaning, he ingests a small amount of the stuff and he's suddenly bouncing off of the walls...literally), I've been making a concerted effort to limit the amount of the sweet stuff that he consumes on a regular basis. Since he goes to preschool each morning, I feel very strongly about fueling his body with a healthy morning meal that will also keep his blood sugar levels stable throughout the morning -- no crazy highs and lows!
It's amazing how many kids' breakfast foods contain high quantities of refined sugar. The meal options here may contain some sweeteners, but they are far healthier than those Froot Loops or donuts that your little ones might otherwise request. Plus, these ideas actually taste good, too!
1. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies (use fruit, yogurt, and either milk or 100% fruit juice). My boys' favorite smoothies are these Orange-Peach Jack-O-Lantern Smoothies and this Bananas Foster Protein Shake. Just make sure that you're using lower-sugar yogurts if you opt for a flavored yogurt, and obviously leave off the whipped topping and caramel sauce for the little ones!
2. String Cheese + Whole Grain Crackers + Fruit (who says that cheese and crackers is only for snack time?)
3. Brown Rice Cakes + Peanut Butter + Banana Slices on Top (serve with a glass of milk)
5. Scrambled Eggs (melt in some shredded cheese) + Sliced Apples or Applesauce (with no added sugar) + Whole Wheat Toast
6. Plain Oatmeal flavored with Cinnamon and a Small Drizzle of Honey + Topped with Berries (or stir in some chopped, microwaved apple). If your kids prefer the microwaveable flavored instant oatmeal packets (which have a lot of added sugar), try stirring in some plain oats as well to dilute the sugar content. Gradually add more and more plain oats until your kids no longer crave the sweetened version.
7. Breakfast Sandwiches made on Whole Wheat English Muffins or Toast + Egg + Turkey Bacon or Ham + Cheese. These can be made in advance and frozen so that you can grab them as needed, microwave, and go! Cheaper, healthier, and faster than the drive-thru!
8. Plain Yogurt flavored with All-Fruit Jam + Topped with Nuts & Cereal + Fruit to Make a Parfait. If your child doesn't care for the taste of plain yogurt, try mixing the plain yogurt into a sweetened, flavored yogurt. This will decrease the sugar content of the flavored yogurt and you can gradually up the amount of plain yogurt over time. This Healthy Apple Crisp Yogurt Parfait is a good option (again, if watching sugar intake, just make sure to use a plain yogurt or a low-sugar flavored yogurt)!
9. Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes or Waffles. It might sound like a pain to make pancakes or waffles from scratch, but here's the deal: they only require a few ingredients, you can control what goes into them, and you can make a huge batch at once and store the extras in the freezer for quick, weekday meals. We eat a lot of pancakes and waffles around here because they are SO convenient! My boys eat them plain with just a bit of butter melted on top, but if your children want some sweetness, you could top them with a very small drizzle of honey, spread them with nut butter, or add a smear of all-fruit jam on top. These Sneaky Healthy Chocolate Pancakes are SO good -- and your family will never guess that they're nutritious, too! Other great options include these Healthy Greek Yogurt Lemon Blueberry Pancakes and these Healthy Banana Pancakes (which only have 4 ingredients)!
10. Peanut Butter Banana Dogs. Place a whole banana inside a whole wheat hot dog bun. Spread with peanut butter (you can even melt the peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle it on the top like "ketchup")!
11. Breakfast Tacos. My kids love quesadillas and tacos, so why not make them a breakfast food? Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese onto half of a whole wheat tortilla. Top with scrambled eggs, if desired. Fold over and microwave just until the cheese melts. Serve with salsa or taco sauce for dipping! My kids also LOVE Pizzadillas (and have requested them for breakfast, too).
12. Homemade Whole Grain Muffins that are Sweetened with Fruit and a Touch of Honey or Maple Syrup. We love these Toddler Muffins (Whole Grain Honey Peach Mini Muffins) and these Maple & Spice Yogurt Muffins.
13. Whole Grain Breakfast Cookies. We have tried a lot of different breakfast cookie recipes, but this version from Weelicious is our favorite. We mix up the flavors, too -- Casey loves when I add dried Cranberries. They also freeze well so they're a great make-ahead option. Another version that we love? These Healthy Honey Nut Cheerios Breakfast Cookies. These cookies get most of their sweetness from the added fruit, but they also include some honey and/or maple syrup. Since you're making them at home, feel free to decrease the amount of added sweetener to suit your family's tastes and dietary needs.
Happy eating, friends! I hope this list has inspired you.
Tell me: what am I missing? What are some of your favorite go-to breakfast options for the little ones?