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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
On 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?