Overcast   82.0F  |  Forecast »

Choosing a Better Breakfast for Your Child

It really is 'the most important meal of the day,' so say 'no' to doughnuts and sugary cereals – and 'yes' to some of these healthy alternatives

"Get out of the box" when it comes to what to serve your kids for breakfast, says Akua Woolbright. She should know. Woolbright, who has a Ph.D. in nutritional science, is the head of the health and wellness program at Whole Foods Market in Detroit. Maybe even more important, she's also a mom with a busy schedule – and she wants her son, age 9, to have energy for school, activities and whatever else comes his way.

"I believe in eating whole foods. My mantra is, 'Whole foods, plants strong,'" says Woolbright. When shopping for foods in general, Woolbright encourages parents to ask themselves two questions: "Does it come from nature?" and "Would my great-great-great-great-great grandmother recognize it?" With that in mind, parents can either go ahead and buy or pass on foods that don't meet that criteria.

But even if parents are trying to eat more whole foods, that doesn't necessarily mean kids will. That's why it's important to find some healthy choices that kids won't see as a sacrifice. Here are suggestions from Woolbright and some others local food experts.

Apple quesadillas

Greg Mudge, owner of Mudgie's Deli in Corktown, recommends this pick sure to please grilled cheese lovers. Cut an apple into thin slices and put them on a flour tortilla. Top the slices with shredded cheese (Mudge recommends smoked Gouda, but cheddar, Monterrey Jack and Muenster cheese work well, too). Add another tortilla on top and cook the quesadilla either in the microwave or in a skillet pan that's at medium-high heat. Slice into triangles with a pizza cutter.

Tip: Crisp, slightly tart apples like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith work best. We added some honey and black pepper for extra flavor.

Overnight oatmeal

In a large bowl, place 2 cups whole oats (not instant or quick cooking), 2 cups low-fat milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Scoop into bowls in the morning and top with chopped nuts or dried fruit to make it extra delicious, says Woolbright.

Tip: Use almond or soy milk instead of low-fat milk if kids are dairy intolerant.

Black bean scramble

Instead of eggs and cheese, Woolbright says it's better to use black beans as the base for your child's morning meal. Her son can get out black beans from the fridge (Woolbright says to look for low-sodium canned black beans) and put the beans in a whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat flour tortilla – or just eat them plain.

Tip: Look for low-sodium canned black beans.

Morning sundae

Top a healthy scoop of nonfat vanilla yogurt with sliced fruit and granola for a perfect early morning pick-me-up.

Tip: Frozen berries make an inexpensive and icy cool topping.

Banana hot dogs

Ditch the jelly and processed white bread, Woolbright advises, and use peanut butter in this sweet, satisfying surprise. Spread the peanut butter onto a whole-wheat flour tortilla and roll up with a whole, peeled banana tucked inside.

Tip: Try an alternative nut butter, like cashew or almond, for a departure from regular PB.

Too rushed to eat in the morning?

Preparation is key, says Whole Foods Market Detroit nutritionist Akua Woolbright. Here are four tips she offers:

  1. Create a shopping list for important items to have on hand for the week – like whole-wheat tortillas, bananas, etc.
  2. Schedule a regular day for grocery shopping – like Sunday afternoons or a weekday night when you aren't as busy.
  3. Do some prep work over the weekend – like make overnight oatmeal or open cans of black beans and put in the fridge for kids to self-serve.
  4. Opt for on-the-go foods – like an apple quesadilla or banana hot dog.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

If you're looking for a fun decorative summer vacation family project or two, these four blog picks will get you and your kids off to a great start.

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

Parents want to protect their kids from failing or getting hurt, but that's impossible. In fact, it's critical to let them take risks. Here's why – and how to raise a risk taker.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement