Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Great kid's breakfasts

"Breakfast like a king!  Lunch like a prince.  Dine like a pauper."  My mum used to say this proverb when we were young and certainly I would agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It's important, especially for kids, because it might be 14 hours or so since they last ate.  Kids have growing bodies and brains and that needs fuel.

It is a shocking statistic that some primary schools have 25% of pupils who arrive not having eaten breakfast, not because they are in breakfast clubs but because the home supply of food is erratic.

Some adults skip breakfast thinking they're saving calories but on the days I have done it, I always regret it.  I end up snacking instead not feeling too guilty about it because I've not had breakfast.  It's only at the end of the day I realise how many extra calories I've eaten.

What's even more surprising is if you look at some of the breakfast cereals marketed at children.  We do have some sweetened cereals in our house but a mouthful of chocolate based cereal has never passed my son's lips.  I mean, what is the point in feeding your child something like that?  Even for the cereals which aren't as sugary as you might think, why do you want to train kids to need this?  I've looked at one major brand and of the 85% carbohydrate it contains, 35% are simple sugars which will make blood sugar peak very quickly and crash back down again leaving you hungry late morning.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not always giving my son wholemeal foods but something that sugary is surely not great?



So here is my list of favourite foods for my son's breakfast and mine.  Not all of them are weekday foods, not all of them are all that virtuous but they are all yummy, interesting and made with love.

My inexpert sourdough.  Tasty though.
1.  Home made sourdough bread or toast with butter and honey (over 1 year olds only).  This is my favourite breakfast.  I make a loaf of sourdough a week and although I've not seen any scientific evidence for it having health benefits, I'm sure it keeps us fuller for longer than normal bread and I think it's meant to be low GI (even with a smidge of honey).  Certainly it's full of so much more flavour that you feel sated by it and major supermarkets have started to sell sourdough now but there is no legal definition so they vary widely.  Better if you're around the midlands and don't feel like giving sours a go yourself, pop to Hambleton Bakery and I'll promise to post about sourdoughs soon when I can make a more photogenic loaf!

2.  Scrambled eggs.  Gone are the days when people think eggs are not a healthy food.  They're a source of vitamin D which is vital for all of us but especially kids (particularly if you're not giving a supplement.)



3.  American style Pancakes.  I really like these wholemeal apple ones or the fruit ones at the top.  Great for snacks too and kids think they're getting something pretty naughty with a tsp of honey when you're feeling pretty virtuous about the whole thing.

4.  Toast with smooth peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats for kids.  Choose a low sugar and salt brand (but not ones with sweeteners.)  Check with your health visitor or health professional about when you can introduce it, opinion varies by country and by area from my experience and will depend on whether you and / or your child have food allergies.

5.  Poached egg on toast.  People think making poached eggs is difficult.  It's not.  I follow a rough approximation of Heston Blumenthal's method which is to boil water in a kettle then put in a saucepan on the smallest ring on my hob on the lowest heat (it's gas so it's not that low but you don't want it bubbling.)  I then crack in an egg (as fresh as possible) into the water and set a timer for 4 minutes exactly.  Scoop out with a slotted spoon and serve.  (Over 1's only as the yolk is runny.)

6.  Ready brek (and supermarket own brand versions).  I'm not completely anti processed foods.  Ready Brek (the unflavoured varient) and the competitors are just made from oats, oat flour and added vitamins.  It's those added vitamins and the smoother texture which make it a great option for kids.  It's also really quick to make and suitable for babies over 6 months old.



7.  Bubble and squeak, great for boxing day breakfast to use up leftovers (and sneak vegetables into breakfast time.)



8.  British pancakes with fresh fruit are a great way of kids thinking they're getting something naughty but it actually not being all that bad for them.



9.  Bircher muesli is a great way of getting fruit into your diet at breakfast time, keeps you full for ages and tastes fantastic.  There are a couple of variations here.



10.  This frittata is made in the oven to make it super easy but an alternative would be an omelette made on the hob.

So next time, especially at the weekend, you're reaching for the pack of chocko crunchees, why not have a go at something different?

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