Back to school time means the alarm will be going off much earlier than we’re used to during the summer. It means hurried mornings and tired children. Tired mom too! To make the back to school transition a little easier, I’m planning ahead. I’m preparing for strong coffee, blurry eyed children and bed head. I’m gathering new ideas for packing healthy back to school lunches to mix it up and keep the kids fueled all day as well as relying on some of my tried and true tips from the past. I’m even including myself in the mix because now that I’m working out of the home, I need to pack a healthy lunch too.
To begin with, I’m thinking back to school breakfast ideas. Breakfast is important every day, year around, but during the school year, the kids have to be on their “A” game. Their little minds are working and testing and I want to make sure they’re ready. A hungry belly isn’t a productive learner. To make my life easier, I’m busy baking and freezing muffins. I love to make my muffins with Stonyfield Vanilla Greek Yogurt. For some yummy and healthy muffin recipes check out these 20 different muffin recipes. I’ve also been busy making and freezing homemade granola bars. These are great for lunch but also for an on-the-go breakfast with a banana and a Stonyfield YoKids Smoothie (which the kids love)! I figure the more I make ahead of time, the better!
I haven’t just been baking. We’ve been having fun making overnight oatmeal in a jar to test out toppings and recipes. Thus far, these have been a hit. Especially for me. Here’s the recipe I’ve tried with the greatest success and the toppings I love the most:
- I use the wide mouth, pint size jars from Ball. They come in a 4 pack and you can also buy plastic screw on lids. The wide mouth jars are much easier to eat out of and add toppings to and stir.
- 1 cup of organic Country Choice Multi-Grain Oats
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of yogurt (I like Stonyfield organic low-fat vanilla the best.)
Mix the ingredients together in the jar and let set overnight. Heat when you’re ready to eat, stir and add your favorite toppings. It’s that stinking easy. I kid you not. If you like your oatmeal thicker, add less water. If it’s too thick, add more water. The first time I tried this I used ½ cup of milk, ½ cup of oatmeal and ½ cup of yogurt and the oatmeal was not thick enough for me. I like my oatmeal very thick. I say experiment and see what you like best and what the kids like best. It makes for an easy and healthy breakfast. I made mine on Sunday and we’ve had oatmeal every morning this week. YUMMY! You’ll find several recipes if you search on Pinterest but for me, I asked my co-worker who brings these regularly for tips.
My favorite toppings:
- The Perfect Snaque – Coconut Almond Crunch and Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Crunch
- Fresh blueberries
- Organic Dark Brown Sugar
- Fresh raspberries
- Toasted Coconut Chips
The awesome thing about the back to school breakfast ideas, they can also be used for easy lunch box ideas too! Here’s some inspiration for making your breakfast recipes into lunch too! Why not get a double whammy for your efforts!?
Alternate serving muffins for breakfast and lunch. If you make apple cinnamon muffins for breakfast one week, make another kind for lunch and pack with an apple, cheese cubes, sugar snap peas and nuts. If you freeze a variety of muffins in advance, it will make breakfast and lunch easier!
- Skip oatmeal at breakfast for a few weeks and mix it up by sending it for lunch. Especially during the winter, warm it up in the morning and send it a thermos with fresh fruit for a topping and some toasted coconut or sliced almonds. It will be a warm and filling lunch!
- Hopefully these tips help you with back to school planning and ease the stress of trying to make a healthy breakfast (and lunch), get everyone out the door, dressed and on-time!
Hopefully these tips help you with back to school planning and ease the stress of trying to make a healthy breakfast (and lunch), get everyone out the door, dressed and on-time!
Other Healthy Breakfast Ideas
1. Make a breakfast casserole the night before and pop it in the oven. I make quiches and call them breakfast pies, my son thinks he’s eating something special. It is packed with protein and I’m controlling the ingredients (organic eggs, whole grain breads, organic milk, fresh broccoli, organic chicken or hormone free sausage).
2. Smoothies! Smoothies! Smoothies! Here’s my favorite reciepe:
- 1 cup Stonyfield Organic Vanilla Yogurt
- 1 cup frozen strawberries or another berry of choice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 whole banana
- 2 tbs soy protein
- Dribble of honey
Blend together with my magic bullet and serve with whole wheat toast. The kids love this!
3. Breakfast pizza. It’s easy to make and doesn’t take too much time. Check out this great recipe I found from a home school website and remember, you control the ingredients so make it as healthy and natural as possible!
4. Fruit Salad and cottage cheese. For my daughter this is a hit. Some pineapple or peaches along with cottage cheese and she is a happy camper.
5. Oatmeal is a great breakfast if you add some fruit to the meal. This is probably one of my favorites warm and chunky. I love to have this on a cold morning. There are lots of options at health food stores and in the grocery aisle but don’t be fooled by the sugary ones. Remember, you are trying to get away from the sugar and carbs so the swirl of dinosaur eggs hidden in the instant oatmeal probably isn’t the healthiest choice.
6. Breakfast wrap with whole wheat tortilla, shredded cheese, tofu and tomatoes. The children will love this wrap and it can be dipped in salsa for some extra flavor or scrambled eggs can be added instead of tofu.
7. Organic vanilla yogurt with granola and fruit. My son is starting to like this but only if he sprinkles the granola on!
8. If you make pancakes or french toast make them yourself. I add fresh fruit to my pancakes and use a whole wheat batter and add instant soy protein to the mix. When I make french toast I use whole wheat organic bread and organic eggs and milk. I make several slices and freeze them to use other mornings. I pop in the toaster and my kids have french toast!
9. Make nutritious muffins with an instant soy protein you can bake with and add veggies or fresh fruit. I like to use shredded zucchini, blueberries, apples chunks, and shredded carrots. Check out a few of these great recipes: Ventures with Veggies: Granola Muffins , Deceptively Delicious Muffins,
10. For the mornings where everyone is running late and the alarm never went off, have some healthy breakfast bars on hand for the car. Be sure to include an organic milk box and a banana to round out the meal.
For some more great recipes, ideas and inspirations check out Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Kids. The fruit pizza sounds divine! Personally, using a great books like, Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook has helped guide me in using organic ingredients and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my children’s diet. It’s for baby and toddlers but I still have a baby and so this helps me and it’s never to early to start! The best thing to do is to plan ahead and have healthy foods on hand. If cereal is a child’s favorite look for some sugary alternatives and try to add fresh fruit to their bowl. Make breakfast fun! Be goofy with your food and make faces like the picture! Sometimes we have to be clever to get our children to eat foods that are good for them. Set a good example and eat breakfast yourself, a healthy breakfast! Children are more likely to do as they see and if you’re eating your breakfast pizza, they might do the same!