Well-Balanced and Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
I was shocked to hear from my older children how many of their peers skip breakfast. And then I remembered my own childhood – I do remember my mom making me pancakes for breakfast when I was in elementary school but once I hit junior high (and she was at work in the mornings), my brother and I were on our own. We often resorted to grab-and-go sugary breakfast pastries or a snack bag of dry cereal to eat on the walk to school. Yeah, not exactly healthy. And after a hour or so at school, my stomach was burning with hunger. That sure made it hard to focus on my studies.
Kids need to have a decent breakfast so they can best concentrate during school learning. Serving a healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. My teens are able to prepare many of these themselves, though for the sake of speed I tend to put breakfast together quickly for everyone on school days.
Breakfast in the Time of Distance Learning
At the time of this writing, my kids will be doing all of their fall 2020 school learning at home via virtual learning. Despite the changes to our expected school day, I’ll be keeping the breakfast weekday routine the same. Sticking to a daily schedule with set eating times can help kids and parents better stay on track with their day.
Of course, regular meals and snacks can help with mood balance as well. After going through a weight loss program that taught me how to keep my blood sugar levels steady, I’ve learned the enormous benefits of a well-balanced meal. Without the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, protein and fiber your breakfast will “burn off” quickly, causing you to be hungry much quicker.
For parents who are working from home and can’t prepare a meal each morning, these healthy breakfast ideas for kids include some pre-prepped foods. With these tips and recipe ideas, elementary-aged kids and teens can put breakfast together for themselves in the morning.
Prepare for the School Day the Night Before
I totally understand the morning time crunch of getting kids out the door on time. I personally have 4 kids to get ready, with two of them starting school at 7:15 am. My kids wake 1 hour before we have to be out the door. This allows them time to get dressed, make their beds, sit at the breakfast table for a meal, brush teeth & hair and get in the car. My older kids are also able to unload and reload the dishwasher each morning. It’s a lot to squeeze in – but we never skip breakfast!
The kids do all their prepping the evening before, including making sure their school tablets are charged, their homework is in the backpack, their outfit is chosen and their shoes are ready to put on. There are no morning scrambles to find any missing items because they’ve prepped for their school day the night before (PS. None of my kids have ever been late to school). Read more about how I streamline the morning routine here! These tips can still be used for kids who are homeschooling or distance learning at home.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids to Make the Night Before
Some breakfast recipes can be prepared the night before or even batched on the weekend. I’ll break items down into meals that can be frozen and defrosted, meal prep for the fridge and quick serve pantry items. A fast grab and go meal from the fridge, freezer or pantry can still be healthy – just round out these breakfast items with a glass of milk for protein and a side of fruit for added fiber.
Breakfast Foods to Prep and Freeze
Cook in batches when you have time, preparing extra to be frozen and eaten later for breakfast. When cooking dinner, consider what foods you could be making a little extra of to use in these breakfast recipes. The night before, defrost these items on a plate inside the fridge and microwave in the morning.
Egg and Meat Burritos – Scrambled eggs, crumbled cooked sausage and a sprinkle of cheese, rolled up into a warm flour tortilla. Leftover steak is even better! Broil a Niman Ranch Sirloin Steak then use leftovers cut into thin strips inside these delicious breakfast burritos. Stack the burritos carefully into a zip-close freezer bag.
Fluffy Pancakes with Toppings – My kids love this Fluffy Pancakes Recipe, especially when I offer personalized toppings! Make ahead and freeze for quick breakfasts that can either be popped into the toaster or microwave.
Breakfast Pizza – What kid doesn’t want pizza for breakfast? Smear pasta sauce on a toasted English muffin, then top with mozzarella and pepperoni. Broil them on a baking sheet to melt the cheese, then cool. Freeze inside a zip-close freezer bag.
Egg Bites – The blessing of these fast and tasty breakfast bites is that they can be tailored to each child’s individual tastes. Sprinkle in leftover bacon, ham, ground turkey or sausage for added protein. Make batches in the Instant Pot with a Silicone Egg Bites Pan, then cool before freezing.
Prepped Fridge Breakfast Ideas to Grab & Go
Pre-packaged items tend to be pricier and also include more sugar. Skip the tiny yogurt tubes or squeezable portions as it’s just as easy to purchase in bulk and portion out. These items can be spooned into individual servings for fridge storage throughout the week. Use these Pyrex Storage 1 Cup Dishes with Lids to stack the servings inside the refrigerator.
- Yogurt (choose Greek, which has less sugar and more protein – sweeten with Stevia if needed)
- Cottage cheese
- Fruit cocktail (choose the kind that’s packed in juice instead of syrup)
- Hard boiled eggs, peeled and rinsed
- Applesauce with cinnamon
- Homemade fruit salad like pineapple chunks, berries and halved grapes. We will often prep on a plate the night before and cover with saran wrap. Uncover and let kids grab what fruits they want.
- Breakfast parfait – layer plain or vanilla yogurt with cut fruit or berries, dry oats or granola and chia seeds.
Prepped and Ready to Cook in the Morning
Use Meal Prep Containers to create grab-and-go healthy breakfast ideas for kids. Kids can just grab a few ready-made items, heat up and start eating!
Breakfast Tacos – combine cooked scrambled eggs and leftover chopped bacon into a meal prep box, then heat in the microwave. Serve inside a warm corn tortilla and top with cheese, salsa and avocado cubes
French Toast Casserole – my friend Brittany at PlayPartyPlan shares an easy French Toast breakfast casserole. Spoon into individual servings and kids can easily reheat.
Breakfast Potato Hash – leftover potato cubes mixed with chopped ham and green peppers can be tossed into a pan at breakfast time to fry into a hearty hash. Try different kinds of potatoes, including Russets and sweet potatoes. For added protein, add Niman Ranch Country-Style Ground Pork Sausage. Cook and portion out into individual servings then reheat in the morning.
If you make your own baked goods, at least you’ll be able to control ingredients and sugar levels versus store-bought products. For baked goods I like using whole wheat flour instead of white. I like Wheat Montana Prairie Gold 100% Whole Wheat Flour. It’s not pricey and it has a smooth taste and texture so I easily sub it in for white flour in all my baked goods.
My kids would choose to eat baked goods every morning for breakfast! Round out the carbs in the morning with cut fruit and a glass of milk (cow, soy, or almond milk, whatever your kids prefer).
- Whole Wheat Baked Doughnuts – Baked doughnuts are easy to make and if you sub in whole wheat flour they’re an even healthier option. A baked doughnut made in a Donut Baking Pan is healthier than fried in oil. I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and dipped the doughnuts in just for a special treat.
- Muffins – Use healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, applesauce/mashed bananas/honey instead of white sugar and include chopped fruits, nuts and grains.
Budget-Friendly Egg Recipes
I have two teens, an elementary aged kid and a preschooler. When they all want scrambled eggs, I cringe a bit because there go all my eggs! I want my kids to eat a healthy wholesome breakfast but they don’t need to eat a full plate of eggs. Instead I’ll give them a smaller amount of eggs using these recipes.
Omelettes with leftovers – Have some leftover veggies from dinner the night before? Don’t let them go to waste – Fold them into the center of an omelette and sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Sauteed mushrooms, squash or steamed broccoli are favorites of my kids.
Mexican Style Scrambled Eggs – Topped with cheese and my Pico de Gallo chunky salsa. Serve with beans and a tortilla for a well-balanced breakfast.
Egg Sandwich – One egg per kid is all you need. Make it fried, sunny-side up or scrambled and place it on a toasted English muffin half, croissant or a bagel. Add a slice of fully-cooked Coleman Natural Canadian Bacon for extra protein. Layer a slice of cheese and some spinach leaves and this is a filling breakfast that is way healthier than the fast-food variety (and takes less time than going through the drive-thru!)
More Budget Breakfast Ideas
- Oatmeal – Can’t get more basic for breakfast than a warm, bubbling pot of hearty oats! So cheap and you can dress it up nicely. I love chopped apple, lots of cinnamon, walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
- Homemade Granola – My friend Amiyrah shares her Easy Granola Recipe on Four Hats & Frugal. I like her idea to use it to pad out store-bought cereal!
- Frozen Pre-made Whole Wheat Waffles – Use a weekend to prep breakfast for the following few weeks. By making your own whole wheat waffles you can control the ingredients and they’ll be just as convenient to pop into the toaster as the prepackaged variety. Sometimes I “make it fun” with a topping of whipped cream.
RELATED: 80+ Best Brunch Recipes
Whip Up a Morning Smoothie or Shake
Some kids can’t stomach eating a huge meal for breakfast but still need something healthy in their tummy. Smoothies are a great way to kick start the morning and are one of the best healthy breakfast ideas for kids. Smoothies are also perfect for sipping in the car on the way to school when time is tight.
Frozen Bananas – When bananas are getting overly ripe on the counter, put them into the freezer for future use. Peel and break in half, then place into gallon-sized freezer bags, spacing apart slightly so they don’t stick together. Use in blender smoothies or defrost later for preparing banana bread.
Kid-Approved “Green” Smoothies – When your fresh fruits and greens start to turn, chop them up and freeze them for use later in a smoothie. Just lay them out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and place into the freezer. Then take the frozen pieces and transfer them into zip close bags. Frozen pineapple or berries, a huge handful of fresh kale or spinach, almond or soy milk and a dollop of Greek yogurt. This is a favorite to sip in the morning (and I promise, you won’t even taste the greens!)
Smoothie Bowls – if your kids prefer to eat with a spoon, pour the smoothie into a bowl then top with berries, coconut, oats, chia or sliced bananas.
I have more kid-friendly breakfast ideas that are high protein and low carb smoothies on this article.
Time-Crunch Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
The school bell is ringing but the kids haven’t eaten yet! If making breakfast on school days is a challenge, toss these winning breakfasts together and they’ll be ready to eat within minutes.
- Sprouted Grain Toast with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chia Seeds – Sprouted grain bread tastes wonderful after it’s been toasted and when you top it with peanut butter (no sugar variety, just nuts/salt/oil), banana slices and a sprinkling of chia seeds, it’s almost like dessert! My husband takes this one step further and drizzles his slice with honey!
- Rice Cakes with toppings – top with nut butter and sliced fruit for a speedy meal (hello, Nutella and bananas!)
- Greek Yogurt with toppings – Another quickie to toss together with ready-to-go toppings! I like chopped banana, walnuts, a bit of agave and I’ve even been known to toss on a few dark chocolate chips…yum.
- Homemade Granola Bars – pass on the store-bought sugar-laden granola bars and make your own using honey.
- Avocado Toast – a fast smear of avocado onto a slice of sourdough and it’s a healthy breakfast on the go.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids with Protein
Eggs and meats are excellent sources of protein, which will fill up kids for longer. I’ve recently discovered Perdue Farms to stock up my deep freezer with breakfast proteins like Coleman Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon.
Egg and Sausage Casserole – Bake this hearty breakfast casserole from my friend Andrea at Just is a Four Letter Word. When it’s cool, portion into individual meal boxes for quick microwave reheating in the morning.
Carnitas and Eggs – When we have dinner leftovers, like shredded pork, I’ll just heat it up quickly on the stove into crispy carnitas. Some scrambled eggs and a tortilla and my kids have their own DIY breakfast tacos. Cook Coleman Natural Boneless Pork Loin Roast in the slow cooker and it’s an easy meal with plenty for leftovers!
Healthy Breakfast Fried Rice – Turkey bacon and Niman Ranch Breakfast Sausage flavors this Breakfast Fried Rice from My Crazy Good Life. Especially great when getting rid of leftovers from dinner, this is another great meal-prep recipe.
Looking for more ideas? Check out these 14 protein-packed breakfast ideas for kids.
Picky-Eater Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
I’m a reformed picky eater myself so I know all the tricks! It can be difficult to get any meal into your picky eater, let alone a decent breakfast. These are sure-to-please healthy breakfast ideas for kids, even the particular children! Be sure to check out more ideas on this post with Practical Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters.
- Coffee Cake with Swirled Jam- Say “cake” for breakfast and you’re speaking my love language! Make a coffee cake healthier by subbing in whole wheat flour, halving the sugar and swirling in no-sugar jam into the top of the batter before baking.
- Banana or Zucchini Bread – If your picky eater is off-put by the “specks” of banana, considering adding in cocoa powder to hide the color. You can also hide the color of the zucchini in bread by making a puree of cooked blueberries and adding to the batter. I love this recipe for Disney’s Banana Bread! To make it healthier use coconut oil in place of butter and halve the sugar.
- Cold Cereal with Berries – Pre-boxed cereals don’t have to contain a boatload of sugar. Tossing in fresh berries will help sweeten them up. Check out this list of best and worst boxed cereals at 100 Days of Real Food. The book 100 Days of Real Food – Easy Wholesome Recipes is a wonderful guide to eating more wholesome foods.
This post was originally published on Feb 27, 2017 and has been updated and republished.