Healthy, QUICK, Whole Food for Kids—Breakfast

In light of recent comments on the last post, I thought it might be helpful if we talk about some ideas for healthy and quick whole foods for kids.  Because to be honest, that’s one of the big problems for many of us.  When it comes to feeding ourselves, no biggie, but feeding our kids is often a different story.  Some of you might be blessed with kids who will eat anything, but I would guess that most of us probably have the typical kid who balks at much of the food that is offered.

For us pickiness has been the biggest challenge, but convenience is also a HUGE one.  Even those who have good eaters still need to figure-out how to quickly and conveniently get that good food in them.  Well…. I don’t have a lot of brilliant ideas.  I kinda just want to hear from you!  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far and what my kids mostly eat, starting with breakfast:

Breakfast

scrambled eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, waffles, fruit, cheerios

*I usually make eggs in a pan because that’s how I like them and I usually eat them, too, but if it’s just for one of them, I’ll just microwave them.  Yes, you can make scrambled eggs by simply microwaving a whipped-up egg for a few minutes in a bowl.  It actually comes-out in a circular shape that makes it easier to cut into small bites, and I think because it’s a little overcooked, it holds together better instead of falling off their fork.

*Ev is loving oatmeal these days since I started letting her mix-in the cinnamon and frozen blueberries on her own.  She likes stirring it up and turning the oatmeal purple.  It was kind of a pain to make, but I recently read on the back of the container that oatmeal is easily microwavable, too!  I put about 1/4 of a cup in a bowl (Ev won’t usually even finish this amount), add 1/2 cup of water, and microwave it for about 3 minutes.  Why in the world buy those small little sugary packets of instant when you can just microwave the regular old-fashioned oats that come in a huge container?  (without sugar and much cheaper!)  I try to add-in lots of butter and sometimes sprinkle some shredded coconut in there, too, when she’s not looking, for healthy fats.  Make sure to see if your grocery store has a bulk grain section and compare the prices of oatmeal there to the ones in the containers.  (Quakers and such)  Often the price per pound is cheaper if you buy it in the bulk section, and you can get as little or as much as you like.

*Ev still doesn’t love regular yogurt, but on the rare occasion when she’ll agree to it, we mix-in blueberries and I add some xylitol or real maple syrup for sweetener.  Harris will eat it plain or with fruit.  Sometimes I’ll even mix yogurt and oatmeal together!  (is that weird?)

*My trick for making waffles easier is to make a big batch and then use it for the rest of the week.  I use this recipe (love it!) and usually double it. I’m sure it isn’t what you’re “supposed” to do, but I just stick the big bowl of batter back in the fridge and use it for the rest of the week.  That way all it takes is for me to warm-up the waffle iron, plop some batter on it, and in a couple of minutes we have fresh waffles.  (or pancakes)  SO easy.  I know some people make ahead all their waffles and keep them in the freezer, reheating them when necessary, so you could do it that way, too.

*Ev has been used to eating dry cereal, usually Cheerios, for breakfast for years.  It’s still a part of her morning routine and something she’s not ready to give-up yet, but I’m trying to make it more of an appetizer by giving her a small amount.  She eats that and is still hungry afterward, so then she gets her “real” breakfast.

Alright, that’s all I got.  What other ideas do you have for a quick breakfast for kids using whole foods?  (quick being the key since the kids are usually fussing around my feet in the kitchen whining because they’re so hungry.  Oh yeah, and I am NOT waking-up before them to prepare something, don’t even think about suggesting that!)

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22 responses to “Healthy, QUICK, Whole Food for Kids—Breakfast

  1. GREAT ideas, em! cool! very DO-able. definitely will try the waffles…my kids LOVE them some waffles! I don’t have any ideas myself, though…so i’ll be checking back for more comments!

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  2. My daughter loves oatmeal and I always mix a couple plops of yogurt in there (so no, I don’t think that is weird at all). It really helps it have a better consistency that is a little creamy! I wouldn’t like it because I hate yogurt, but she seems to really love it!

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  3. Making more than you can eat in one meal so that you’ll have leftovers is brilliant. This is probably the most important thing to shoot for when you’re planning meals for the week and wanting to devote time and energy to other things.

    French toast is pretty easy and fast. Eat it with some cinnamon & fruit on top, and it’s so yummy and good for you.

    There are lots of breakfast casserole recipes out there that you can make the night before. This might be one of the easier ones because 1) you can prepare it after the kids go to bed and not have to do any cooking in the morning when they’re awake; 2) depending on the recipe, it’s loaded with good whole foods (eggs, milk, cheese, maybe some veggies if you like); 3) you can make a big dish of it and eat it all week.

    Also, I know this is a hard one, but microwaving freaks me out. I know it’s extremely convenient, but it is a very good way to negate or significantly minimize the health benefits of the very good whole food that you’re working so hard to prepare. Ovens, stovetops, and toaster ovens are very good alternatives to microwaving + a little bit of patience and fore-thought, but it’s totally worth it, I think.

    (I told you I have some thoughts about this stuff) 🙂

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  4. We do muffins, muffins and more muffins. Kids call them cupcakes. I also love sausage or bacon or sandwich sliced meat in shape, i make suns and planes. Ok i dont love them, the kids love them. Orange juice is big for breakfast.
    -h

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  5. Simon eats all the things you mentioned and some times avocado on toast with seasoning salt (this is from Myles family – I don’t like it but they all love it) He also loves whole wheat sweet potato muffins that are low sugar. The recipe can be found here
    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/nov/07/food/fo-muffins7

    Simon really loves the morning star veggie sausage deals – I don’t think these really count as a whole food but they are a good way to get a skinny kid to eat some protein. I have been working on perfecting a copy cat recipe to make at home.

    Also one thing he loves for breakfast is a smoothie. I mix all sorts of veggies in it and he doesn’t mind. (Sweet potatoes, kale) I bake sweet potatoes ahead of time and freeze them pureed in ice cube trays. (this method is left over from making baby food) I steam kale and puree it and freeze it the same way. Then you can just grab the cubes from the freezer and mix with a banana, frozen berries or chunks of mango, yogurt, and a tiny bit of juice to get it all moving in the blender. When Simon has been under weight I also add protein powder. I can usually add 3 or 4 cubes of kale for a smoothie for both of us. kale cooks down quite a bit so this is a lot. We also add the kale to other things. Since it’s already cooked in cube form it’s easy to add to spaghetti sauce, stews/ soups, pizza sauce and eggs. You can sneak in a lot of kale if you do it in little bits at a time.

    Also Cascade farms makes a no sugar whole grain “cheerio” you can find it at QFC, TOP, and Fred Meyer. I used that when Simon was little for finger foods but they do contain wheat.

    I was an extremely picky eater as a kid and wanted to avoid that with Simon. I highly recommend Cynthia Lairs book “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies,Young Children and Their Parents”. She is a local nutritionist and has a lot of great suggestions for helping kids to broaden their horizons. I followed her suggestions about NOT feeding Simon bland textureless food as a baby and it has worked great – that kid will eat anything (except mac and cheese).

    Here is my blog post about feeding babies from when Simon first started eating. Just something to keep in mind for the next one.
    http://emilyweaverbrownphoto.com/blog/2008/09/uncategorized/simon-eats/

    just do baby steps!

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  6. just realized that you comments on my original blog post so I guess you have read it! How long have we been friends anyway! It didn’t seems like that long ago you moved here and in that post Simon was only 7 months old.

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  7. Haha, Emily! Yes, I think Simon was about six months when I first met you, isn’t that weird to think about?

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  8. so proud of all your discoveries! you still crack me up with all of this, but i love that it’s so new and exciting to you! so, first things first. Good job on the homemade breakfasts. Secondly, as i am sure your Seattle friends will quickly agree with, the words “microwaving” and “whole foods” typically don’t go in the same post. So…one thing at a time!! heheh. Love ya!
    Marj.

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  9. Uh, what am I missing here? What’s the big deal about a microwave?

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  10. So microwaves… It’s one of those things that the research is split on. Some studies say it’s fine and not a health risk; others link it to things like cancer, infertility, memory loss, etc. As with most research, many of these research studies are loaded with political and economic agendas (i.e., not very objective or accurate), so it’s hard to know what to believe.

    With all the conflicting research and political and economic agendas that are embedded within them, my conclusion is this… I just try to maintain as natural, raw, from-scratch of a lifestyle as possible. We do have a huge rise in so many illnesses in our society for which we don’t know the causes. Meanwhile, we’re being offered so much convenience (e.g., drugs, microwaves, wireless everything) that hasn’t been around long enough to really know the consequences (e.g., like birth induction and epidurals that you’ve read so much about.) Intuitively, I just don’t trust it; it just makes more sense to live as naturally and wholistically as possible – which doesn’t include daily use of microwaves.

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  11. One obvious thing that I left out… Microwaving food is literally radiating your food. Another source of radiation is the sun, and it’s harmful to our bodies – which is why we where sunglasses and sunscreen to protect ourselves from it. So you’re basically pumping your food full of radiation and eating it when you microwave – scary!

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  12. I don’t agree about microwaves being unsafe. Everything I have read about them being “unsafe” is just fear based junk science. We studied them in physics and the way a microwave heats you food is by oscillating at the same frequency of water molecules the friction caused by the oscillation heats your food. I microwave Simon’s eggs too. You will notice they cook much more evenly if you add a couple tablespoons of milk because adding liquid gives more molecules to oscillate.

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  13. Laurie, your last comment is inaccurate. You are confusing non-ionizing radiation with radioactivity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonionizing

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  14. I’ve heard that if you do microwave, you should put the food in a glass container, though, not plastic…..isn’t there some research that the plastic can leach out into the food???

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  15. Yes, Jen, you’re totally right. I use glass bowls when I do oatmeal since it’s in there for several minutes… I’m still pretty bad about microwaving plastic….I just use plastic so dadgum much it’s hard to change! But I’m trying to be better about using glass. One of these days I want to upgrade all my Gladwear containers to glass.

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  16. I know, it kills me to take food out of the gladware, put it into a glass container to microwave it, and then wash BOTH!! Joe is such a stickler on this one, but when he isn’t watching, I do sometimes cheat ;0)

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  17. personally I am way more concerned about the chemicals in plastics then I am about pesticide residues. Please don’t microwave in plastic – ever. You are poisoning yourself and your kiddos. BPA and phthaltes are endocrine disruptors and mess with your body’s hormones. In 10 years all of these chemicals will be banned from food containers but right now it’s not safe. BPA is in tons of plastics and is used for lining on most canned foods (and soda). it can leech into your food even if the food is not heated in it or warm. Melamine is not a safe option either as it also leeches melamine monomer and formaldehyde into your food. For this reason Simon is only served food on wood, glass, or porcine as it’s really hard to find “safe plastics” Some plastic containers are BPA free like GLAD brand name but it’s so hard to verify the ingredients in plastics that I would rather just use glass or metal containers.
    http://safemama.com/
    is a great resource.

    There is tons of research showing that plastics are not safe with food, in our personal care products, and I even once read one about the effects of people who were on kidney dialysis for a long time who received treatment through phthalate plasticized tubes.

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  18. I’m not new to the microwave conversation, but this whole BPA plastic thing has thrown me for a loop. Thanks for the link, Emily, for safemama.com. I’ll be checking that out today.

    As far as breakfasts go, we do very similar foods. Oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts (superfoods!), whole yogurt with berries or clementine sections and a slice of whole grain toast with a smear of peanut butter. We try to stay away from pancakes, waffles, and french toast for a couple of reasons. 1.) Those are “treats” in our house, so we only eat them once a month or so 2.) the carb-fat-protein ratio of those foods is significantly off, and most of the accompaniments like syrup (even maple), confectioners sugar, etc. just aren’t good for you. In my opinion, there are healthier options, though they might not be as fun. Also, we have uncured bacon or ham a couple of times a week, too – great source of good fats needed in kids’ diets. You can see more info here – http://www.westonaprice.org/Dietary-Recommendations-for-Children-A-Recipe-for-Future-Heart-Disease.html

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  19. Danielle, are you reading stuff by Weston Price? Most of the blogs and stuff I’ve read lately have been from that paradigm, he and Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book. (that I can’t wait to read) I’m trying to reduce our grain consumption, so pancakes and waffles haven’t been standard fare around here either lately. Where do you get uncured ham?

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  20. I haven’t read Weston Price but “trying to reduce your grain consumption” seems like really odd advice especially for children. Complex carbohydrates are essential for brain function. I don’t mean white flour but oatmeal for sure, and other whole grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.

    And they sell uncured ham at Fred Meyer in the natural freezer section and of course at Wholefoods and PCC.

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    • I’m not trying to reduce my grain consumption because of Weston Price’s info, (although he would say that unsoaked or unsprouted grains have harmful phytates/antinutrients that can be harmful: http://www.westonaprice.org/Be-Kind-to-Your-Grains…And-Your-Grains-Will-Be-Kind-To-You.html) but because of reading Good Calories, Bad Calorites by Gary Taubes and other writers in the low-carb world. It’s a controversial area since it goes against conventional wisdom, but our bodies weren’t designed to process a large load of carbohydrates, simple or complex…. they all get turned to sugar in our blood, complex carbs are just slower about it. A diet high in carbohydrates (like the one suggested by the USDA Food Pyramid) is a recipe for weight gain and is linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other modern diseases that are so popular in America. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/simple-complex-carbohydrates/, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-grains/ A diet with around 100-150 grams of carbs is plenty for brain function, but most Americans eat around 300-600 grams of carbs a day. Even under 100 if your body makes ketones, those will supply brain function very well. In addition, the body will create glycogen from protein and fat…. so carbs aren’t even really necessary in our diet since our body supplies what we need from protein and fat. I’m trying to lose a few pounds, so I’m trying to keep my carbs on the low side, but more than that, I feel way better when the carb percentage is low and the protein/fat percentage is high. My hunger is regulated, I can go way longer between meals happily, I have more energy… And I’ve noticed when Ev eats a lot of carbs (crackers, cereal, etc…), even whole grains, it doesn’t fill her up at all, she’s complaining of being hungry an hour later. So I’m also trying to lower our normal carb. pattern (typical American diet) so she’ll have a full tummy for longer and be happy. (and not whiney!) I know there’s a million takes on this issue, but I’m kinda going with the “Primal Diet” as what I aspire to eventually look more like: http://www.marksdailyapple.com

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  21. good info .. I am very interested with your article …

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