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10 Easy & Healthy Alternatives to Packaged Breakfast Cereal for Kids

This post is by regular contributor Tricia Hogbin of Little Eco Footprints.

My household is avoiding packaged breakfast cereals in an effort to save money, reduce packaging and minimise food miles. We are also enjoying added health benefits because many packaged breakfast cereals are highly processed and contain excessive amounts of sugar and salt.

My daughter tires quickly of the same breakfast, so I’ve built up a long list of kid friendly alternatives to packaged breakfast cereals. My favourites can either be prepared beforehand or require less than ten minutes ‘hands-on’ preparation time. Here are my top ten easy and healthy breakfast choices.

1. Mini frittatas
Mini breakfast frittatas or omelettes can be baked in a muffin tray. I make these the night before and serve cold for the next couple of days.

I mix left over vegetables or grated vegetables (like zucchini, carrot, sweet potato or pumpkin) with a few eggs (around 1 ½ eggs per child serve), a dash of milk or cream, and a little grated cheese. Pour the mix into a greased muffin tin and bake in a moderate oven until firm.

2. Breakfast biscuits or muffins

There are many healthy biscuit, cookie or muffin recipes that are good breakfast choices. I look for recipes like these fig and almond energy bites that are low in sugar and that contain a lot of nuts, seeds and healthy fats. I bake rarely, so when I do I hide a few biscuits or muffins in the freezer ready for busy mornings when I don’t have time to make breakfast.

3. Porridge
Porridge doesn’t have to be boring. You can vary the type of porridge and the toppings you use. We alternate between oats porridge, polenta porridge and rolled rice porridge cooked with sultanas and almond milk. Toppings we use include natural yoghurt, honey, seasonal fruit, tahini, and ‘sprinkles’ such as crushed nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pepitas. ‘Pink porridge’ –which is porridge with frozen berries and honey stirred through – is a particular favourite in our house.

Porridge can take a while to cook, so I put it on when I get up and by the time I’ve done a few morning chores its ready.

4. Smoothies

breakfast cereal alternativesI love smoothies on those really busy mornings when we’re left with no choice but to eat breakfast on our way to preschool and work. Our favourite is made with milk, banana, yoghurt, and a little honey, tahini or peanut butter, coconut oil, and cocoa. It’s packed full of protein and healthy fats and my daughter thinks she’s getting a chocolate milkshake for breakfast.

5. Popcorn
Yes – popcorn! I add a piece of fruit and a serve of yoghurt and it’s a perfectly healthy breakfast. I pop ours on the stove in coconut oil.

6. Pancakes
Pancakes served with berries or chopped fruit, natural yoghurt and honey are another easy healthy choice. My daughter particularly likes these banana oatcakes and almond flour pancakes.

Many pancake mixes keep in a bottle in the fridge for a few days so you can use the same mix for snacks or subsequent breakfasts.

7. Ham and egg cups

These delicious ham and egg cups are made by simply lining a greased muffin tray with sliced ham, cracking in an egg, and baking in a moderate oven until firm. They taste just as delicious cold so can be made the night before.

8. Eggs and toast soldiers
Simple soft boiled eggs or poached eggs served with wholemeal toast soldiers. Simple, healthy and arguably almost as easy as pouring cereal and milk into a bowl.

9. ‘Surprise’ plate
I’ll throw whatever is handy onto a ‘surprise’ plate, including leftover veggies or diced meat, cheese, olives, dried fruit, nuts and fruit.

10. Dessert!

breakfast cereal alternativesOn the mornings when I know I’m going to struggle to get my daughter to eat something before preschool I’ll tempt her with a dessert style breakfast. Many healthy desserts are perfectly good breakfast options. For example there’s the above chocolate avocado pudding, chocolate custard cups and chocolate banana ice-cream. My daughter still giggles every time I agree to serve her ice cream for breakfast.

What’s your child’s favourite package-free breakfast?

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Comments

  1. I was trying to pin this on Pinterst for later keeping… but it just won’t pin. Any idea why?

  2. I think it is a problem w/ Pinterst…..

    • Copy the url from this page and open pinterest in another tab, click on Add+ and then Add a Pin and paste into the box and follow the rest of the instructions. It is the long way around but it does get you a pin!! Hope this helps!!

  3. Homemade granola and homemade whole wheat toast with nut butter, yogurt and fruit are always hits at my house. I love the mini frittata idea!

  4. Thanks Tricia! these ideas are great! I have a daughter who, like me, does not really like cereal. We’ll be trying a few of your ideas!

  5. Thank-you for encouraging us to think out of the (cereal :)) box! There are some fabulous ideas there! My son was so excited that he could have a smoothie ice block that he’d made, after we forgot to eat them yesterday afternoon! Ice-block for breakfast!! I’ll be sharing your post with his kindy too!

    • I forgot about leftover smoothie iceblocks when I was writing about dessert for breakfast. Thanks for mentioning it. They are another favourite for my daughter.

      and love your little joke ;-)

  6. Catherine A says:

    Great ideas. My son was never a big cereal fan and now he has discovered eggs he usually has scrambled eggs every morning – I find they’re quicker than boiled (no waiting for the water to boil and then timing them perfectly). Added bonus is that I eat a portion of it too which is a filling start to the day.

  7. Great ideas. We too like a breakfast muffin, heavy on the fruit or veg and wholegrain and light on the sugar. Great post, am sharing this one!!

  8. Great list Tricia. I love using leftover quinoa to make a porridge. I cook the grated apple, with cinammon, sultanas and top it with coconut or almond milk :)

  9. great ideas! Bubbaroo refuses to eat cereal, think I may try the energy bites or smoothy to get some goodness into him in the morning! great post!

  10. Thanks so much for linking to the fig and almond energy bites… they’re super easy to make and great to keep on hand for breakfasts.

  11. Yes! We are grain-free at our house so these are great for us. We do almond flour Morning Glory Muffins, Scotch eggs, and many others on your list (including smoothies with canned coconut milk). Gets you off to such a much better day and good fats first keep your blood sugar stable so you are ravenous by lunch time!

  12. What a great post! Can’t wait to try out the recipes.

  13. We do muffins a lot, usually after porridge day and I put any leftover porridge (usually between 1/2-1cup) into the muffin batter. It works great for any grain.
    A new favorite of ours is popped amaranth. It’s just like cold cereal…only WAY better. We’ve been gluten free for over 3 years so cereal isn’t a big part of our mornings.

    http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/02/21/how-tosday-popping-amaranth/

  14. Awesome ideas! We don’t have kids, but who’s to say that adults can’t enjoy dessert for breakfast, too?! :]

  15. Tricia, I LOVE this! You’ve put it together beautifully!
    We have been struggling with breakfasts for a while as the boys have suddenly become aware that what I feed them is ‘different’ to other kids and actually refusing breakfast so I was in desperate need of some creative ideas. Most recently I resorted to those organic cereals from the health food shop..eeek..so expensive considering how quickly we go through it so thank you for these awesome ideas!!!

  16. You’re a clever mumma, Tricia. So smart for thinking outside the cereal box! x

  17. Tricia these ideas are inspired! Thank you! We have been caught in a peanut butter on toast rut for some time now. I can see many of these ideas making an appearance at our place soon. Pinned this too. Thanks. :)

  18. Melissa Mee says:

    Thank you for this post. I am inspired…and grateful!

  19. We are a gluten-free and packaged-cereal free family and our favourite breakfasts are- home-made muesli, fresh fruit with yoghurt, honey, nuts and seeds, healthy apple crumble with home-made custard and home-made gluten free fruit and nut bread. We also love fresh fruit smoothies and lots of eggs!

  20. Great ideas!! I love mixing oats with a few mixed berries and some yoghurt overnight and in the morning it is so yummy topped with some nuts and sliced banana!

  21. Great ideas. If they took the same time to make as pouring cereal from the box I’d make them every day

  22. These are all great ideas, Tricia, although I am so envious your little Eco will eat vegetables in the morning. We have been hitting the bacon and eggs a lot lately – and let’s not forget homemade baked beans (shush, don’t tell the kids they’re a vegetable). My kids ask for “sprinkles” on their yoghurt too and I always stifle a smile as I give them lavish amounts of LSA or almond meal! x

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