Breakfast sets the tone for the day from both a nutritional and energetic standpoint.
Kids who eat breakfast have enhanced brain function and perform better in school.
Make-ahead breakfast recipes can help your family have access to nutritious meals at the start of the day.
Back to school is a busy season for families and it can take several weeks for everyone to ease back into the school routine. You can support the transition with simple breakfast meals that provide your child with the nutrition they need to grow and learn.
Breakfast gives children the energy they need to thrive in and out of the classroom. Studies have found a positive association between school-aged children who eat breakfast and academic performance. Researchers have linked eating breakfast with improved concentration, attention, and brain function in the classroom, as well as higher scores on standardized tests.
Try incorporating lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at breakfast for a nutritious start to the day. Focus on meals that can be made ahead of time so all your family has to do is quickly reheat or grab-and-go on busy mornings. Here are some simple back to school breakfast recipes to try.
One easy way to add more nutrition is adding chia to oatmeal with fruit or other favorite healthy mix-ins. Chia seeds pack a lot of nutrition into their tiny size. Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 6 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 9 grams of healthy fat. Fiber supports healthy digestion, while protein and fat satiate and provide long-lasting energy.
Chia seeds don’t taste like much on their own, but when they’re soaked in liquid they expand and transform in a gel-like consistency. The result is a thick pudding that’s a blank canvas for delectable toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, and coconut. We recommend making chia pudding with cow’s milk for extra protein and calcium, but you can also use plant-based milk, like almond, soy, or canned coconut milk.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir ½ cup chia seeds into 2 cups 2% milk (you can also use plant-based milk if needed). Add 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. For a chocolate version, stir in ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
Divide into four 4-ounce individual containers or one large storage container, cover, and refrigerate until thickened, about 2 to 4 hours.
Before serving, top a portion with ½ cup of chopped fresh fruit, like strawberries or bananas. Other topping ideas include unsweetened coconut flakes, fruit preserves, granola, and slivered almonds.
Blueberry Banana Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins
Enjoy all the goodness of a bowl of oatmeal in a handheld muffin. Oats are a good source of fiber, B Vitamins, Iron, and other minerals. This recipe contains blueberries, bananas, and shredded zucchini, but you can substitute other produce, like chopped apples and grated carrots, for other flavor variations.
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a mixing bowl, stir together 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 2 tablespoons ground flax seed, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt.
In a separate bowl, mash 1 medium banana. Stir in 2 large beaten eggs, 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Stir in ¼ cup packed brown sugar.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of blueberries and ½ cup of shredded zucchini.
Divide batter between muffin tins, filling each ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool. Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.
No time to make a pan of eggs each morning? Bake a batch of these protein-packed egg muffins, reheat a few in the microwave, and pair them with fruit or whole-grain toast for a fast breakfast. Eggs are a good source of protein and several important vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, and Choline.
Feel free to get creative with your child’s favorite protein, cheese, and vegetables. Cooked and crumbled bacon or chicken sausages can be swapped for the ham and chopped onion, bell pepper, spinach, and mushrooms all work well in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Lightly coat a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
Finely chop a small yellow onion and 1 cup of broccoli florets. Divide between the muffin tins.
Divide ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese between the muffin tins (about 1 tablespoon each).
Chop 6-ounces deli ham and divide between the muffin tins.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk 10 large eggs with 2 tablespoons of milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.
Divide egg mixture between muffin tins, filling each about ⅔ of the way full. Bake until the centers of the egg muffins are set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Fruity Frozen Yogurt Parfait Pops
Surprise your kids with “dessert” for breakfast. These popsicles are an easy make-ahead breakfast and a refreshing way to start the day on still-warm back to school mornings. They’re also 100% customizable.
We recommend starting with plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt, which is often a source of added sugars. Yogurt contains filling protein to help satisfy bellies all morning, plus Calcium and Vitamin D to support growing bones. You can bump up the protein content by mixing in a scoop of protein powder, mix and match your family’s favorite fruits, or adding additional flavoring with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a touch of vanilla extract.
Chop 1 ½ cups of assorted fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, or peaches.
Stir fruit into 1 ½ cups plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons hemp seeds and 2 tablespoons optional honey or maple syrup. If using Greek yogurt, add a few tablespoons of milk to thin the yogurt to a pourable consistency.
Divide half of the yogurt mixture between popsicle molds. Add 1 tablespoon of granola to the middle of each mold, then fill with the remaining yogurt. Spoon another 1 tablespoon of granola on top of each popsicle and lightly press down. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours or overnight.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice or a recommendation for any specific product. Consult your healthcare provider for more information.
Lundqvist M, Vogel NE, Levin LÅ. Effects of eating breakfast on children and adolescents: A systematic review of potentially relevant outcomes in economic evaluations. Food Nutr Res. 2019;63:10.29219/fnr.v63.1618. Published 2019 Sep 12. doi:10.29219/fnr.v63.1618
Sharon Lehman, RD is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a health writer. She specializes in intuitive eating, recipe development, food photography, and hormone health. She shares healthy living tips and recipes on her blog www.heartandstove.com
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.