7 of the Best Brainy Breakfasts

Putting a healthy breakfast together can be a challenge for anyone. Even thinking of the two words: healthy + breakfast can really make anyone anxious. I know it is much easier to grab a box of cereal than pull out the skillet and recipe card. But in regards to our productivity and health, a wholesome breakfast is a must, especially for kids.

If you have kids, there are countless reasons to offer them the best wholesome breakfast every day. Ignoring breakfast could possibly lead to headache, irritability, less problem-solving skills, fatigue and decreased immunity. It is proven that a healthy breakfast gives the body a fresh supply of glucose which in turn, fuels the brain. "Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well." As parents we do our best to prepare them every way possible in life, why not for each day?

So I have put together what I believe to be the 7 best breakfast plans for kids or anyone. I have designed these meals around the following: high levels of protein, calcium and fiber, and low in fat and cholesterol. (Remember that farm fresh eggs are the best option because they contain 1/3 less cholesterol and 1/4 less saturated fat than those found on the grocer's shelf.)

1. Scrambled Egg Roll-Up... In skillet using coconut oil, saute' 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion. Just before it becomes translucent add about 1/2 cup (or more) of fresh spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted and set aside in a bowl. Add more coconut oil to the skillet and scramble 3 eggs at medium-high temperature. When the eggs are starting to set up and not as runny, add the veggies and stir lightly until eggs are done and add salt/pepper to taste. Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup of swiss cheese and set aside until cheese is melted. Add to a whole wheat tortilla and roll up. For fun, you can cut them into slices like sushi and serve with salsa. (Gluten-free method is to use corn tortillas and make into tacos.) ** (Serves 2)

2. Protein-Packed Oatmeal Pancakes... Recipe: 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 2 eggs whites & 1 whole egg, a splash of vanilla (or almond extract is great too) and 1/2 packet of stevia powder (you can also add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon). Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Spray skillet with cooking spray and pour mixture to make silver dollar size pancakes; flip. Top with fresh berries, maple syrup or natural peanut butter. (Serves 1) **

3. Fruit & Berry Parfait... Take 1/2 cup of your favorite multigrain (high fiber) cereal (like this one), 1/2 cup vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (I like this kind for kids) and 1/2 cup of fresh berries. Layer a 1/4 cup of each ingredient then repeat. Drizzle with honey. (Serves 1)

4. BLT with Avocado Spread... Avocado spread: 1 very ripe avocado (dark avocados seem less bitter than the smooth green ones), 1 T. lime juice, 1 T. olive oil mayo and salt to taste. Stir until smooth. For the sandwich: 100% whole wheat bread; toasted. 2-3 slices of cooked turkey bacon, romaine lettuce or spinach, and tomato. Spread avocado spread on toasted bread then top with turkey bacon, greens, tomato and cover with another piece of toast. **

5. Fresh Broccoli Frittata... In a medium bowl, add 6 large eggs and 2 T water and whisk. In a medium skillet, add 1 T. coconut oil and saute' 3/4 cup of finely chopped red onion. Cook until it begins to soften. Add 2 cups of (1 inch pieces) cooked broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs evenly over all the veggies. Cover tightly, and cook 13 minutes or just until set. Remove from heat and top with 3/4 cup of low-fat cheddar cheese. Let stand 7-10 minutes to melt cheese and absorb flavors. (Serves 4) **

6. Oatmeal and Cinnamon Apples... Prepare old-fashioned rolled oats as directed on package. To make cinnamon apples: In a small saucepan, add 3 T. of turbinado sugar or honey, 1/4 cup of butter (I prefer to use coconut oil) and 1 t. vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl, add 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, and 1/4 t. salt and mix well. When the mixture is bubbly add 2 cups of thinly sliced Granny Smith apples; cook gently for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute. Divide oatmeal into bowls and spoon apple mixture over each serving. (Serves 4)

7. Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread and Chocolate Smoothie... You will find the zucchini bread recipe here... it is amazing! As for the chocolate smoothie, it goes like this... 1 very ripe (preferrably frozen) banana, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 heaping tablespoon of carob powder (less if using cocoa powder), 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and stevia to taste (if your banana is not frozen, add a few ice cubes). Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You and your kids will love this smoothie!

** Add a variety of fruit to each of these meals such as melon balls, fresh berries or kiwi.

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