Can you believe it? Already, the days are getting a bit shorter and that fresh start feeling is everywhere – yep, it’s back-to-school time! And you know what that means: routines are back in action, new adventures are around the corner, and oh, let’s not forget the daily dilemma of what to whip up for breakfast!
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably gearing up for the juggle of getting everyone out the door on time while making sure your little one’s focus is locked and loaded. The morning routine for our family has required some fine-tuning over the last few years. The night before, we do our best to make lunches (sometimes just heating up items quickly in the morning), lay out clothes and pack backpacks.
One of the biggest challenges for our family is ensuring we have a hearty, protein-packed breakfast to support our kids’ energy and attention needs throughout the day.
So, I thought I’d pass on a few of our family’s favourite breakfast ideas. Some are super easy to whip up on even a busy morning, others are make-ahead and even freezer-friendly. The best part is, that these recipes are a great way to enlist your child’s participation in the kitchen (this simple step can often be the deciding factor in whether they actually have breakfast at all).
Breakfast makes all the difference for my youngest child who has challenges with focus and attention. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to just lure him to the table and take in even one mouthful of food! But as soon as he gets some protein or healthy fats into his system: it’s smoother sailing – well, more like, smooth-ish!
Balancing blood sugar levels is paramount for kids transitioning from summer’s more laid-back schedule to the rigid routine of daily school life. The good news is that this is easier than you think! When you ensure each meal and snack contains a protein and/or a healthy fat, you provide your child with a stable source of energy that helps them maintain focus and attention throughout the school day.
Research shows that foods rich in protein and healthy fats have a positive impact on cognitive function and behaviour. Protein-rich foods release glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sharp spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. This sustained release of energy helps keep your child feeling fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of mid-morning energy slumps that can affect their ability to concentrate and may present as behaviour challenges in the classroom.
Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish, play a crucial role in brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been linked to improved cognitive function and reduced symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. Studies have shown that these fats help support the brain’s structure and function, aiding in the transmission of signals between brain cells.
A Handy Tip To Engage Your Kids:
I know it’s not always easy, but by finding the time to involve your child in the meal-planning process, you’re not only encouraging a positive relationship with food but, also empowering them to make choices that can enhance their focus and attention. Give them a few breakfast options and allow them to choose their favourites. This collaboration helps them understand the importance of including protein and healthy fats in their meals and snacks and makes them more open to trying new foods.
Knowing that my kids have had a balanced and healthy breakfast alleviates some of my own anxiety around school lunches. Lunchroom environments can often be chaotic and loud – the very opposite that children (especially those with ADHD or anxiety) need to promote thorough chewing and proper digestion to fend off those blood sugar slumps. Even when we send them with a beautifully balanced lunch, there are no guarantees that it will actually be eaten!
So, my best advice is to make breakfast as robust and nutritious as possible.
Feel free to customize these breakfast ideas based on your child’s preferences and dietary needs. Here are a few of my favourites:
Quick & Easy:
- Brain-Boosting Breakfast Smoothie: Blend together antioxidant-rich berries, protein-packed Greek yogurt (or non-dairy alternative), a handful of spinach for essential vitamins, a scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder, and a sprinkle of chia seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Feel free to add any other fruit your child may love! You can also pre-portion smoothie ingredients into jars and store them in the freezer. In the morning, add some water or milk and blend!
- Protein Overnight Oats: With a touch of honey or maple syrup, a scoop of protein powder, and your child’s favourite toppings like cinnamon, sliced bananas, berries, chopped nuts, or a dollop of nut butter, this breakfast is ready to go for the morning in no-time!
- Fruit and Yogurt Parfait: Use fresh or frozen berries, prep in individual jars, seal and refrigerate the night before for a delicious grab-and-go breakfast. Goat and Sheep yogurt are also great high-protein alternatives for those with cow’s milk-sensitive tummies.
- Everything But The Bagel Egg Cups: Containing serious protein and your favourite veggies, these mini omelettes can be stored in the fridge or freezer and reheated in the microwave.
- Banana Protein Pancakes: Make a big batch of waffles or pancakes on the weekend and then freeze them individually. Pop them in the toaster in the morning for a quick and satisfying breakfast.
*A Quick Note: The key to successful make-ahead breakfasts is proper storage. Use airtight containers or freezer-friendly wraps/zip-top bags to prevent freezer burn or loss of freshness.
Remember that breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. By incorporating protein and healthy fats into breakfast, you’re providing your child with lasting energy and stable blood sugar levels, supporting their focus and attention throughout the school day.
I hope, with this list of options at hand, your busy mornings will be a breeze and your family will start the day with a nutritious boost!
Stay hydrated and look for calm in the chaos,
If you’re looking for support with your family’s health goals or need support with mental health, ADHD, or other neurodiverse conditions, feel free to book a FREE discovery call at Soma & Soul Wellness so we can chat to see if Holistic Nutrition is a good fit!