By Sarah Mueller, Contributing Writer
I’m so excited to be joining you at the Humbled Homemaker today. When Erin asked for posts on back-to-school, I knew right away what I wanted to share with you: it’s my #1 tip to help kids through a busy school day. If you want your kids to have a great school day, make sure they fuel up with a protein-rich breakfast.
Why is protein so important for a great school day?
Protein gives kids energy for a busy day.
A breakfast high in protein gives kids steady fuel for the whole morning. Kids have more energy, more focus and won’t get antsy or sleepy before lunch.
What’s for breakfast?
For a lot of busy moms, cereal is the easy breakfast of choice. No cooking required and kids can serve themselves – it’s a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately most cereals (especially the ones targeted at kids) are loaded with sugar and have minimal protein.
Image by Katrin Morenz
The problem with sugar
If a child has a breakfast with a lot of sugar (and little or no protein), his blood sugar will spike upward and then crash mid-morning. He’ll be tired, uninterested, and have a hard time staying on task. This sounds like a recipe for problems in school, doesn’t it?
I wonder how many struggling learners would benefit from a more nutritious, protein-rich breakfast?
A protein-rich breakfast doesn’t have to mean a lot of extra time in the kitchen.
You might be thinking that getting protein into your kids at breakfast means you’ll have to dirty up a lot of dishes and spend a lot of time. But this isn’t necessarily the case.
I’m all about having a system in place to make the busy mornings go smoothly so you can get out of the house or start homeschooling on time. Here’s how to make that happen.
Image by Porsche Linn
7 quick and easy protein-rich breakfast choices
1. Eggs (scrambled, fried, omelets, etc.)
Eggs are an easy, frugal and healthy choice for breakfast.
2. Baked oatmeal
I usually assemble one of my favorite oatmeal recipes (here and here) the night before. In the morning, I just pop the dish in the oven to bake. Recipes containing eggs or yogurt will have much more protein and less sugar than the instant microwave variety.
3. Greek yogurt
Kids can add their own toppings like nuts, fresh fruit, and coconut. (See my easy video tutorial on how to make yogurt.)
4. Homemade sausage
Make sausage for Saturday’s breakfast and save some for the weekdays. Your kids will love you for it!
Image from Pixabay
5. Breakfast smoothies
Browse Erin’s favorite smoothie recipes on Pinterest. Boost the protein with yogurt, chia seeds or nut butter.
6. Homemade granola
Granola is easy to make in bulk on the weekend. Hey, this one’s as easy as cereal! Just watch that the sugar content isn’t too high!
7. Whole-grain toast with cream cheese or nut butter
If time is short, toast and a protein-packed topping plus a piece of fruit is a great quick fix.
Image from Pixabay
For even more ideas for a healthy, protein-rich breakfast, follow Sarah Mueller @ Early Bird Mom’s board Real Food: Breakfasts on Pinterest.
School-day mornings are sure to be busy.
Make sure you incorporate some protein to give your kids the energy they need for the whole morning. It’s an effort that will pay off for them all day long.
What is your favorite breakfast to fuel up your kids?
Want healthy, back-to-school lunch ideas? Kitchen Stewardship’s The Healthy Lunchbox has 45 real food recipes, plus 8 colorful printables, you’ll be ready to pack amazing lunches for your family this fall! Pick up your copy HERE!
Kelly @ The Nourishing Home
You are so, so right, Sarah! Protein is such an important way to start the day for kids and adults. Thank you for these great ideas and also for sharing my Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties recipe. I’ll definitely be re-pinning these pins. 🙂
Thank you, Kelly! Sausage is such a treat at our house – thanks for your recipe!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup
I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of a high protein, low sugar breakfast for our kids. We eat a lot of eggs, oatmeal, and whole grains for breakfast. Thanks for the reminder and the great links!
Please clarify what whole grains are. I do Greek Yogurt, eggs, bacon, sausage for breakfast, but need more ideas and understanding of whole grains. Thanks in advance.
Hi Joy! They are grains that have not been processed or enriched–like whole wheat instead of white bread, brown instead of white rice, rolled oats, etc. I hope that helps!
Thanks! So what I need more help with is what healthy additions to eggs, bacon, sausage, etc can I give my hungry 16 1/2 yr old son & petite 13 1/2 yr old daughter for breakfast. I want them (and me) to stay full from breakfast & I need ideas for lunch too.
I work full time now and we use to eat very healthy, but it’s so hard now not to grab the pre made breakfast sandwiches & pre packaged snacks for them. I always try to keep the protein high, carbs & sugar low, but need variety.
My kids for years eaten fermented oatmeal and kefir for breakfast. Starting out by helping the gut is always a good way to start. We add fruit and things to make it even better but keeping the sugar out and using agave or sorghum for the sweetening.
Our protein comes a bit later….with celery and pumpkin seed butter. As homeschoolers, we can nibble and nosh every few to keep blood sugar up and minds alert.
Pumpkin seed butter sounds great – do you make that yourself?
Yes, I do….I make it with pumpkin seeds and coconut oil. I have seen it somewhere…can’t remember where…but the price was soooo outlandish that I decided to make it from scratch….not hard at all.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
I completely agree! Protein-rich breakfasts are so important for my kids but also for me and my husband! I can always tell if we haven’t eaten enough protein because we are hungry and irritable an hour or two later. Our everyday go-to breakfast is a green smoothie and fried eggs. Our baby joins us too now that she’s eating solid food.
Green smoothies – yum! Yes, I can feel it, too, if I’ve skimped on the protein.
Yum! I’m a teacher, so I need these types of breakfasts myself, *and* I can see the effects of breakfast on my kindergarten students! My breakfast is usually a combination of whole grains + protein…at the moment I’m on an oatmeal kick, but I always add a hardboiled egg. Wheat toast with peanut butter (or homemade pancakes with nut butter, mmm) is another favorite. It makes a huge difference in my morning, and I can make ahead on Sunday evening and be set all week!
I’ve read in many different places that frying and scrambling eggs causes them to lose their nutrients. If you get pastured eggs they are safe to eat raw. Since I’ve found that out we have our eggs soft boiled, poached, or raw in different kinds of smoothies. Those are the best ways for keeping the nutrients. I feel much more energetic after adopting this practice.
Hard boiled eggs are far easier than ficing eggs in the morning and my kids love them. We always have yogurt on hand and it’s the kids go to do it themselves breakfast as well as their favorite snack through the day. Toast with real butter or nutbutter. Sausage. We’ll also eat non -breakfast meals too. Soups, sandwhiches, left over chicken, etc…
The oatmeal recipes look awesome!!