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How to make a quick, energizing breakfast

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

How to... refuel for school

You’ve heard the mantra and you know it’s true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But for busy moms-on-the-go, fixing a big morning meal can seem like an enormous chore when it can sometimes take 15 minutes just to convince Junior to put on his underwear. But never fear, SheKnows is here with some quick, healthy and energizing breakfast ideas that will make every morning that much easier.

Family eating healthy breakfastStep 1: Ditch the sugary breakfast foods

Many of the common breakfast foods on the market are full of sugar and empty calories. If you want your kids to get a good head start on their day, don't let them fill up on foods with little to no nutritional value. Sugary cereals, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, Pop-Tarts and pastries will do nothing but give your kids a sugar buzz and then a big crash mid-morning.

Step 2: Load up on protein and fiber

You want to help your kids recharge before school and the best way to do that is with foods that are high in protein and fiber. Protein is important because it gives us the long-lasting energy our bodies and minds need to grow, develop and learn. Fiber is equally important because it fights many diseases, as well as keeps our digestive system in good working order. Fiber also digests slowly so our bellies feel full longer and we don't get that mid-morning crash that can happen when we tank up on simple carbs and sugar. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says, "When people think fiber, they think gut -- it is just having an effect on the lower part of my body. But now it is very exciting to realize that fiber is having an effect in the upper body, too. Fiber is a head-to-toe body benefit. People need it."

Step 3: Follow the rainbow

The benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables are countless. Most Americans do not get the 5 to 9 recommended servings each day. According to the newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should be filling up half our plate with colorful fruits and veggies at every meal. By following the rainbow, we can get a solid head start on every day.

Step 4: Keep it simple

Breakfast does not have to be elaborate to be healthy. Kids are often picky eaters anyway and won't appreciate all the trouble you went to in order to make that Eggs Benedict with Homemade Hollandaise Sauce or that Elegant Shitake Mushroom Brunch Quiche. Keep it simple and keep it fun. In each breakfast, try to include whole grains, a source of protein and fresh fruits or veggies.

Here are some suggestions for simple, high energy breakfasts that are easy to prepare:

  • Whole grain toast with almond butter and a side of fresh berries
  • Yogurt with muesli, side of mango and cranberry juice
  • Oatmeal with milk, blueberries and almonds
  • Scrambled egg, whole wheat toast and apple slices
  • Fruit salad, whole grain waffle and orange juice
  • Banana pancake with a side of melon
  • Veggie omelet in a whole wheat pita and apple juice
  • Breakfast taco with eggs, beans and veggies
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie and whole grain English muffin
  • Whole grain blueberry muffin with cream cheese and carrot juice

More ways to raise healthy kids

What's your child's favorite brain-boosting breakfast?
15 Ways to raise a healthy child
3 Ways to get your kids eating healthy

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For more info on this topic...For more healthy breakfast ideas, check this out:
5 Breakfast recipes both Mom and kids will love

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