Better Breakfast Month for Homeschool Moms
Your child’s brain needs four main things to function and grow. One of those things is food, but not just any food will do. The brain requires large amounts of certain nutrients. While it can be overwhelming to research the exact nutritional needs of your child and even harder to plan that perfect diet that not only fills every need, but one they will also actually eat. Getting a good breakfast in them doesn’t have to be complicated.
September is Better Breakfast Month and I want to give you a few different breakfast ideas that most kids will love. These are also easy for mom or kids to throw together and I will tell you exactly what major nutrients these meals contain to help your child’s brain grow for the day.
The recipe at this link will get your day started with a natural food that is high in Omega 3 fats, instead of trying to force fish on them, you can let kids slather some butter on these and get several brain nutrients in one bite.
Almonds-These muffins are made with almond flour, which is very high in vitamin E, vitamin b2, and copper.
Chia- Omega 3 (ALA & EPA), manganese, zinc, b1, b2, &b3, and protein
Flax- Omega 3 (ALA)
The good news about ALA consumption is that when studies were done among people who did not consume fish, their conversion of ALA to both EPA and DHA was much higher than in fish eating people. This means that the body knows how to use the Omega 3 we consume to get the form we need. ALA needs to be eaten as it is an essential nutrient, but it can also be a great help providing DHA and EPA to kids who might hate fish. (ALA, DHA, and EPA, are all types of Omega 3 fatty acids.)
Protein- Unlike muffins made with wheat flour these pack 7 grams of protein per serving.
Cook them however your kids like them, fried, scrambled, hard boiled, wrapped in up in omelet or even stuffed between bread to make an egg sandwich. Or for a new twist, try breakfast burritos. Eggs provide plenty of protein, which the brain needs, and the yolks are a great source of B vitamins, especially choline, which improves neurological function.
Watch out for sugar on this one. Some commercial yogurts contain more sugar per serving than a donut. Yikes! Some of that sugar is natural, from the milk, which is ok, it is the amount of added sugar you want to avoid. The goal of breakfast, after all, is not a sugar rush.
Also, full fat is best for kids who are trying to grow both bodies and brains. Yogurt also contains the protein needed for brain health. The high probiotic count in yogurt can help maintain gut health. Scientists are finding that gut and brain health are incredibly interdependent.
I buy plain yogurt and let my kids add honey or fruit or jam. For an extra probiotic boost make your own yogurt and let it culture for 24 hours. But don’t feel guilty if you don’t have the time or energy to make it yourself, your kids still get a dose of goodness from the store-bought stuff.
What if you are just stuck on cereal? Maybe your kids hate yogurt, even if you put it in a fruit smoothie, and you don’t have time or energy to make muffins or eggs. It happens. Sometimes it happens on certain days of the week that just seem harder. Sometimes it happens for a season, maybe you have a new baby and need to sleep in while younger kids are up and need something that they can feed themselves without supervision. It’s ok.
Just think about the kind of milk you are buying, especially if your family doesn’t eat much fish. You can find milk with DHA and EPA added to it. These are the omega 3 fats their brain needs to grow. Just switching up the brand of milk can add a little brain boost without giving you a nervous breakdown.
This milk will probably cost a little more, but probably not more than buying your kids Omega 3 chewable vitamins to add to their diet. (Probably not more than fish either.) Somehow, you have to get Omega 3 in their diet.
Remember nutrition is a big picture issue. You don’t have to feed your kids perfectly all the time. Just be aware of what they need and get as much of it in as possible. Use breakfast as a time to fuel up their brain for the day and be willing to sit down with them eat in a calm fashion. Rushing into the day will not make it easier on anyone.
Marla Szwast lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and six children. She has written articles for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She is the author of Stepping Through History: Starting With You!, and a semester long fifth grade science course. Both courses are published online at the SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership website. She writes about home schooling, child development, neuroscience, and the history of education on her blog at: www.jumpintogenius.com, you can also follow her on Facebook @jumpintogenius, or Twitter @MarlaSzwast, or Medium.