In my house, back to school means saying goodbye to summer lounging and hello to a steady routine and schedule. These busy days also mean that the lazing and grazing of summer is behind us, and nourishing meals are a must to keep us all going. That’s why it is so important for every one of these bustling, hustling days to begin with breakfast. Now is the perfect time of year to rethink your morning meal and incorporate some new foods and variety into your day. Here are some of my children’s favorite ways to happily fuel up before zooming off to school.The Not-So-Traditional Hot Cereal
A warm bowl of grains is a perennial fixture on many breakfast tables, but don’t get stuck in an oatmeal rut! There are many ways to mix it up and get a rotating variety of flavors and nutrients in your bowl:
Buckwheat is a great one to start with as in Apple-Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and Buckwheat opens in a new tab. Interestingly, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all. I also like adding the ancient grain amaranth and chopped apples to this recipe; it’s especially perfect in fall.
Millet is another ancient grain that works well in the morning hot pot as in Millet Breakfast Cereal with Mandarin Oranges and Dates opens in a new tab. Since millet takes a little longer to cook, I’ll make a large batch and then reheat some as needed over the next couple of days. Each of my kids will then top it off with their preferred additions.
This same make-ahead plan can also be done with brown rice. For a sweet and warm morning cereal try Almond Brown Rice Pudding opens in a new tab.
If you’re looking for a grain-free option, experiment with one of my staple breakfast foods, chia seeds. These little seeds transform when you soak them, and my kids love them. Chia Pudding opens in a new tab is a fun recipe to try, and adapts easily to whatever spin or spice you’d like to add. Cinnamon and fresh fruits and berries work wonderfully in this “pudding” as well.
Breakaway from Breakfast
Soup! It’s not just for dinner any more. Having breakfast for dinner is a popular, fun thing to do, but what about the opposite? You don’t have to eat only “breakfast foods” in the morning. Soup is one of my favorite ways to start — yes, start! — my family’s day. Soup’s tasty, easy on the belly and lets you get some veggies in before lunch. Make it the day before and then gently heat the following morning. You can even save some work in the evening and have your morning soup make a reappearance at dinner, with some additional fresh vegetables, greens and herbs to further liven it up.
Miso soup is also a wonderfully satisfying morning food. In fact, it’s a breakfast staple in Japan. Some great and easy miso soup recipes are the Winter Miso Soup opens in a new tab, Miso Soup with Garlic and Ginger opens in a new tab, or the Cool Weather Miso Soup opens in a new tab.
My Good Ole Go To
Last, but not least, are the easiest and most vibrant breakfasts of all — and my personal standby — smoothies. Usually my smoothies consist of a little fruit, some nuts or seeds, lots of greens and some water mixed together in the blender. It’s quick, nutrient rich and easy to consume while on the go. Plus, you can easily tailor any smoothie recipe to meet your tastes and what you have on hand. (Just don’t forget the vegetables!)
What’s your favorite healthy breakfast?