Quick but healthy back-to-school breakfasts
-Sep 4, Caroline Blight, Nutrition -
Breakfast is an often overlooked but incredibly important meal. It really does set us up for the day and gives young brains the energy boost they need to take on the day. Children who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in lessons and are more able to concentrate and process the information they are being given. They are also more able to regulate their mood and behaviour. Kids get hangry too!
Back-to-school mornings don’t provide the most relaxing time for a leisurely breakfast but that doesn’t mean you need to reach for sugar-packed unhealthy cereals or boring toast. With minimal prep the night or even weekend before you and the kids can enjoy a nourishing start to the day with sometimes the only effort needed being to open a box or fridge door.
These are perfect straight from the fridge and brilliantly portable too if made in jars or plastic containers. The best thing about overnight oats is you don’t need to prep every single night. Make a bigger batch on a Sunday and a Wednesday and you will be sorted for the entire week. And, with so many different toppings or ingredients to intergrate into them, this really is a dish you won’t get bored of.
You can make overnight oats vegan with plant milks or extra creamy by adding yoghurt. Use gluten-free oats if anyone has an intolerance. Chia seeds give overnight oats a thick pudding-like texture and add extra fibre and in smaller qualities shouldn’t have the kids yelling ‘what is this?!?!’
Breakfast muffins and flapjacks
Even the most picky morning eater is unlikely to turn their noses up at cake for breakfast! With the right ingredients breakfast muffins or flapjacks can be nutritious and provide slow release energy until lunchtime. The key is to make sure they aren’t packed with sugar and refined carbs. Once you’ve nailed that you have the perfect on-the-go breakfast for when eating on the run (or when you get to work) is the only way you are likely to get it in. Look out for vegetable based savoury muffin recipes too which are great if you don’t fancy sweet foods in the morning. Many of these recipes can be frozen ahead so you could make a couple of batches to last the month if you would like – just grab one from the freezer the night before you need it.
If you love the idea of porridge but hate the mess it makes in a pan and standing over it then Baked Oatmeal is the way forward! Simply mix up your oats and other ingredients, bake in a dish and you can help yourself for the rest of the week. Just reheat in a microwave or pan and you have a luxurious breakfast at the ready. Some recipes are more saucy while others are firmer and can be eaten cold like a breakfast bar. Most can be frozen if you want to meal prep a couple different flavours at once.
If you or your child really can’t face the thought of food in the morning then a cleverly constructed smoothie could be the answer. With fruit and veg in them one of your ‘five a day’ boxes will be ticked before you leave the house. A dose of protein in the milk, and yoghurt if you are using it, and added nuts and seeds will leave you fuller for longer and adding some oats will make your smoothie richer and provide a long slow burst of energy. Of course the beauty of these is the variety you can enjoy. Even in the winter, frozen berries used straight from the freezer will add a taste of summer cheaply and with no prep needed. You can of course get these ready the night before and simply blitz in the morning.
Some people just can’t do sweet in the morning and prefer a savoury breakfast. In that case a frittata is a perfect choice. Either make one large one, Spanish omelette style, or mini ones which can be kept in the fridge or freezer for an egg and veg treat. You can either go protein all the way with an egg, meat and cheese feast or add some carbs for an energy boost with a potato version.