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Great School Day Breakfast Ideas

Great School Day Breakfast Ideas

Everyone knows that the before-school breakfast is absolutely the most important meal of the day. This is the first food your child will have eaten since dinner or snacks last night. The tank is officially empty until you put breakfast on the table and in their mouths. This is why breakfast should be the biggest meal that you eat every day. It needs to backfill the hole left by a good night's sleep while preparing you to face the day ahead.

Planning Healthy Breakfasts for School Days

How Much Food Should Your Child Have?

When you plan your child's breakfast, you first need to take into account their daily nutritional needs. For a full breakdown of your child's nutritional needs, check out this guide. Properly distributed among the correct food groups, those calories will keep your child moving from the breakfast table to the lunch break.

This is important because studies suggest that children who go to school hungry perform poorly and eat more calories in their day than children who eat a proper breakfast. Teachers often cover heavy-hitting subjects like arithmetic in the morning, and underfed children lack the resources they need perform at their best.

What Kind of Foods Should Your Child Have?

A proper breakfast meets all of your child's morning nutritional needs. Nutritious breakfast options include a variety of foods from the important food groups, including:

  • Grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Meat

Fruit and vegetables provide necessary vitamins and minerals, while complex carbohydrates offer a sustained energy burn that will keep your child going until lunch. A sugary breakfast will only get your child from the table to the classroom. Dairy and meat provide more appropriate sources of immediate energy.

Breakfast Ideas For You and Your Family

It can be difficult to make sure that your family has the time for a full breakfast in the rush of the morning, but it is worth it. One way to make it a little easier is to plan your meals an evening ahead and set out non-perishable ingredients. Healthy breakfast ideas for your children include:

  • Eggs – scrambled, dippy, hard boiled, however they will eat them
  • Fruit smoothies – add healthy greens like spinach or kale
  • Fruit parfaits
  • French toast, waffles, or pancakes made with whole grains
  • Hot cereals like oatmeal with dried or fruit and / or nuts on top
  • Bananas and peanut butter rolled in whole wheat tortillas
  • Cottage cheese with fruit and / or honey on top
  • Whole-wheat toast with peanut or any nut butter

These are just a few ideas. Whatever else you do, make sure that you steer away from simple sugars and fatty foods when you plan your child's breakfast. Though breakfast is a great time to eat high calorie foods, too much sugar and fat will only drag your child down during the day, whereas a great breakfast will pave the way for a great day. 

Meal-Prepping Breakfast for School

If you prepare your kids' breakfasts in advance, you'll be able to quickly get them the food that they need. Giving your child sufficient time to eat in the morning will ensure that breakfast is finished in its full before the bus comes. You also don't want your children rushing through their meal, since that can lead to upset stomachs.

In order to meal-prep breakfast, you'll need meals that can either be frozen or that can last for a while in the fridge. If you opt to freeze meals, make sure you take them out of the freezer 24-48 hours in advance to defrost them. Quickly warm them up in the microwave, and you're good to go!

There are also some frozen options in the store that are not terrible for your child's breakfast. Any whole grain frozen waffle or pancake is going to be a good option. Again, avoid any frozen foods that are high in sugar. Sticking to foods that provide your child with a balanced meal is key.

If you have multiple children, make sure you take care to portion out enough portions to last each child through the week. If you're particularly busy, you can leave instructions for your children to warm up their breakfast, assuming they're old enough to do so. By meal-prepping or buying the right frozen breakfast items, you'll save yourself time while still ensuring your children get the food they need in the morning.

School Breakfast in the News

If you've been following the news at all, you may be aware that many states are now offering universal meals to children at school, or are planning to do so. In early July 2023, Michigan lawmakers approved universal free meals as part of their budget. Minnesota also implemented a universal meal program in the same month.

These two states join a number of others who are implementing or planning to implement these types of programs. Many states experimented with universal meal plans during the pandemic, and came to the conclusion that they are beneficial to students. By providing free meals to all students, there is no need for anyone to prove their income or to deal with cumbersome forms. Plus, low-income students can avoid the bias that comes with having to reveal their income status through free or reduced meals.

Make sure you follow your local news to receive instructions about your state's universal meal program, if they have implemented one. If your state plans to implement one, you should hear about it as soon as it is approved. If your state implements a free meal program, then you can simply send your child to school and they'll receive their breakfast there!

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