25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
It's important for kids to eat a healthy breakfast to refuel their bodies after sleep, as their brains and bodies are still developing (1Trusted Source).
Yet, 20–30% of children and adolescents tend to skip this meal (1Trusted Source).
A healthy breakfast can be quick and easy for you or your child to make. Breakfasts can also be made ahead of time, and some are portable for eating on the go.
Here are 25 simple and healthy breakfast options for kids.
Eggs are a staple breakfast item, as they're easy to prepare, versatile, and packed with high-quality protein and other nutrients (2).
Also, compared with cereal, eggs may keep kids feeling more full throughout the morning (4Trusted Source).
One study in 8- and 9-year-old children found that those who ate more lutein-rich foods had higher levels of lutein in their retinas. This was associated with improved academic performance, including better scores in math and written language (5Trusted Source).
Here are some scrumptious ways to serve eggs for breakfast.
1. Egg-and-vegetable muffins
These muffins are a great way to sneak in some extra vegetables. Plus, they're portable and easy to make in advance.
To make them, mix eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl and add chopped vegetables of your choice.
Divide the mixture evenly into greased muffin tins and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 12–15 minutes or until done.
2. Eggs in a hole
Using a round cookie cutter, cut a hole in the middle of a slice of whole-grain bread and place it in a frying pan with some olive oil or melted butter.
Crack an egg into the hole and cook on the stovetop until done.
3. Ham-and-cheese frittata
Frittatas are an easier version of omelets. Simply beat 1–2 eggs per person with some salt and pepper and pour into a nonstick frying pan.
Sprinkle with chopped ham and any type of shredded cheese, then cook on medium-high heat until the eggs are set.
No flipping is required. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.
4. Scrambled-egg tacos
For a fun and portable twist on tacos, scramble 1–2 eggs per child and serve in taco-size whole-grain tortillas.
If desired, top with cheese and black beans for extra protein and salsa for veggies and flavor.
5. Berry breakfast strata
Stratas are a hearty make-ahead version of French toast.
To make one, line a baking dish with six slices or broken-up pieces of whole-grain bread. Sprinkle fresh berries over the bread.
Beat 6 eggs, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla. Optionally, you can add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of maple syrup.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread and fruit, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake the strata at 350°F (177°C) for about 30 minutes or until it's puffy and golden.
6. Hard-boiled egg pops
To make egg pops, cut a carrot or celery stalk in half lengthwise and then into 4-inch (10-cm) lengths. Next, peel 1–2 hard-boiled eggs per person. Carefully poke the carrot or celery sticks into the bottoms of the eggs.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper or add a dollop of mustard if desired.
Healthy Whole-Grain Options
Whole grains, which have all three parts of the grain — germ, bran, and endosperm — intact, include brown rice, whole wheat, oats, quinoa, sorghum, and millet. They're healthier than refined grains because they're higher in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals (6Trusted Source).
Indeed, children may benefit from eating more of them.
In a 9-month study in children ages 9–11 with excess weight, those who ate 3 servings of whole-grain foods each day had a lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and body fat percentage, compared with those who ate their regular diet (6Trusted Source).
Many whole-grain breakfasts can be prepared ahead of time. Here are some tasty options.
7. Overnight oats
Overnight oats are easy to make in Mason jars the night before, and your child can customize this dish with their favorite toppings.
Mix about 1/4 cup (26 grams) of rolled oats and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of any type of milk in a small Mason jar. Top with nuts, shredded coconut, chia seeds, and dried or fresh fruit.
Instead of cooking, leave the jar in the fridge and let the oats soften overnight.
8. Baked oatmeal
After you bake this healthy breakfast of whole grains and fruit, you can eat it throughout the week.
In a bowl, mix:
- 2 cups (208 grams) of rolled oats
- 3 cups (700 ml) of any type of milk
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla
- brown sugar to taste
- any type of fresh or frozen fruit
Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 45 minutes or until the oatmeal is set.
9. Pear-and-sorghum porridge
Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain with a chewy, nutty texture.
Mix cooked sorghum with any type of milk and top it with ripe, sliced pears — or any seasonal fruit.
10. Blueberry mug muffin
Wild blueberries are packed with antioxidants and make a great addition to your breakfast.
In a microwave-safe mug, mix:
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) of flour
- 1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) of brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (5 grams) of baking powder
- a pinch of salt and cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of milk
- a small handful of frozen blueberries
Microwave on high for 80–90 seconds.
11. Pumpkin-quinoa porridge
Quinoa is a quick-cooking gluten-free grain, and this breakfast porridge packs a punch of vitamin A from canned pumpkin.
Boil one part quinoa with two parts of any type of milk, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in some canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Before serving, top it with chopped nuts, brown sugar, or shredded coconut.
12. Peanut-butter-banana breakfast cookies
Breakfast cookies are cookie-shaped muffins that pack more whole grains into your routine.
To make them, you'll want:
- 1 cup (104 grams) of quick oats
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) of whole-wheat flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) of very ripe mashed banana
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) of maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) of milk
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter
Mix the ingredients, preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drop the batter into about 12–15 cookies, flattening them lightly with a spatula, then bake for 10–15 minutes or until firm and golden. Cool on a cooling rack before serving or storing in an airtight container.
13. Chocolate protein pancakes
Make your favorite pancakes more satisfying by adding a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the batter. Add a bit of extra milk if the batter is too thick.
You can also boost pancakes' protein content by adding Greek yogurt, eggs, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chia seeds to the batter.
14. Strawberry ricotta toast
This simple meal hits multiple food groups at once. Spread whole-grain toast with ricotta cheese and top it with sliced strawberries.
Drinkable Breakfast Options
Breakfast smoothies are an easy way to pack an entire meal into a drink. They're also a good way to add extra fruits and vegetables to your child's diet.
In a study in adolescents, introducing fruit smoothies as a school breakfast item increased the percentage of students who ate a full serving of fruit from 4.3% to 45.1% (7Trusted Source).
For a healthy breakfast smoothie, use a small serving of unsweetened fresh or frozen fruit. Add a handful of leafy green vegetables, a spoonful of nut butter for healthy fat, and either milk, Greek yogurt, or a serving of soft-cooked legumes for protein.
Here are some drinkable breakfast options.
15. Chocolate-peanut-butter-banana smoothie
Blend a frozen banana, scoop of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon (7.5 grams) of unsweetened cocoa powder, and milk.
16. Strawberry-almond-butter smoothie
Frozen strawberries are great for this smoothie. Blend them with some almond butter and milk.
17. Unicorn fruit-and-greens smoothie
Make a healthy, colorful smoothie by blending probiotic-rich kefir with various fruits and greens.
To get rainbow layers, blend each food separately and pour it into a glass. Lightly drag a straw through the layers to swirl them together.
18. Orange creamsicle smoothie
This smoothie is full of vitamin C to boost your immune system, potassium for electrolytes, and protein to fuel your muscles.
Blend the following:
- half of a frozen banana
- the fruit and zest of 1 small orange
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) of orange juice
- 1/2 cup (150 grams) of vanilla Greek yogurt
19. Greek-yogurt smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls are a cool, refreshing breakfast. Pour an extra-thick smoothie into a bowl and top it with fruit, nuts, and seeds. Greek yogurt makes an excellent base.
Fruits and Vegetables for Breakfast
Fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious, but most children — and adults — don't eat the recommended daily amounts (9Trusted Source).
The recommended intakes range from 1.5–4 cups for vegetables and 1–2.5 cups for fruits per day, depending on a child's age. If you use the metric system, keep in mind that gram equivalents for these amounts vary widely (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Serving more fruits and vegetables at breakfast time can help children establish healthy eating habits.
In a study in 16- and 17-year-old students, eating more vegetables was associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while eating more fruit was associated with a lower BMI (11Trusted Source).
Researchers note that providing fruits and veggies at home, and eating them with your kids, helps them get in the habit of eating these foods (12Trusted Source).
Here are a few simple recipes.
20. Breakfast banana split
In a bowl, top a peeled banana with Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, granola, and chopped nuts to make a healthier banana split.
21. Baked apples
After coring a few apples, fill them with a pat of butter, few spoonfuls of oats, and some cinnamon.
Cook in a slow cooker on low for about 5 hours or until soft and tender. Finally, top them with Greek yogurt for some extra protein.
22. Berry yogurt parfaits
Layer high-protein Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola for a quick and easy meal that hits multiple food groups.
23. Vegetable tofu scramble
Tofu scramble is a great option for anyone who doesn't eat eggs but wants a high-protein breakfast.
To make it, sauté minced onion in oil and add mashed, firm tofu alongside your choice of spices and vegetables. Tasty combinations include sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes, or roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes with fresh basil.
24. Savory oatmeal with greens and cheese
Oatmeal doesn't have to be sweet or topped with fruit. Try mixing in spinach — or any other vegetable — and cheese with a pinch of salt for a savory twist.
25. Avocado-cucumber-tomato toast
Spread mashed avocado over whole-grain toast, then top with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes for a hearty, open-faced breakfast sandwich.
The Bottom Line
Many healthy breakfast options can help kids get the nutrients they need for the day.
Breakfast is a great opportunity to load up on protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
These nutritious dishes can be an important step toward establishing healthy eating habits not only for your kids but also your whole family.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Tara Lohan
Warming temperatures on land and in the water are already forcing many species to seek out more hospitable environments. Atlantic mackerel are swimming farther north; mountain-dwelling pikas are moving upslope; some migratory birds are altering the timing of their flights.
Numerous studies have tracked these shifting ranges, looked at the importance of wildlife corridors to protect these migrations, and identified climate refugia where some species may find a safer climatic haven.
"There's a huge amount of scientific literature about where species will have to move as the climate warms," says U.C. Berkeley biogeographer Matthew Kling. "But there hasn't been much work in terms of actually thinking about how they're going to get there — at least not when it comes to wind-dispersed plants."
Kling and David Ackerly, professor and dean of the College of Natural Resources at U.C. Berkeley, have taken a stab at filling this knowledge gap. Their recent study, published in Nature Climate Change, looks at the vulnerability of wind-dispersed species to climate change.
It's an important field of research, because while a fish can more easily swim toward colder waters, a tree may find its wind-blown seeds landing in places and conditions where they're not adapted to grow.
Kling is careful to point out that the researchers weren't asking how climate change was going to change wind; other research suggests there likely won't be big shifts in global wind patterns.
Instead the study involved exploring those wind patterns — including direction, speed and variability — across the globe. The wind data was then integrated with data on climate variation to build models trying to predict vulnerability patterns showing where wind may either help or hinder biodiversity from responding to climate change.
One of the study's findings was that wind-dispersed or wind-pollinated trees in the tropics and on the windward sides of mountain ranges are more likely to be vulnerable, since the wind isn't likely to move those dispersers in the right direction for a climate-friendly environment.
The researchers also looked specifically at lodgepole pines, a species that's both wind-dispersed and wind-pollinated.
They found that populations of lodgepole pines that already grow along the warmer and drier edges of the species' current range could very well be under threat due to rising temperatures and related climate alterations.
"As temperature increases, we need to think about how the genes that are evolved to tolerate drought and heat are going to get to the portions of the species' range that are going to be getting drier and hotter," says Kling. "So that's what we were able to take a stab at predicting and estimating with these wind models — which populations are mostly likely to receive those beneficial genes in the future."
That's important, he says, because wind-dispersed species like pines, willows and poplars are often keystone species whole ecosystems depend upon — especially in temperate and boreal forests.
And there are even more plants that rely on pollen dispersal by wind.
"That's going to be important for moving genes from the warmer parts of a species' range to the cooler parts of the species' range," he says. "This is not just about species' ranges shifting, but also genetic changes within species."
Kling says this line of research is just beginning, and much more needs to be done to test these models in the field. But there could be important conservation-related benefits to that work.
"All these species and genes need to migrate long distances and we can be thinking more about habitat connectivity and the vulnerability of these systems," he says.
The more we learn, the more we may be able to do to help species adapt.
"The idea is that there will be some landscapes where the wind is likely to help these systems naturally adapt to climate change without much intervention, and other places where land managers might really need to intervene," he says. "That could involve using assisted migration or assisted gene flow to actually get in there, moving seeds or planting trees to help them keep up with rapid climate change."
Tara Lohan is deputy editor of The Revelator and has worked for more than a decade as a digital editor and environmental journalist focused on the intersections of energy, water and climate. Her work has been published by The Nation, American Prospect, High Country News, Grist, Pacific Standard and others. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis. http://twitter.com/TaraLohan
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
The last Ice Age eliminated some giant mammals, like the woolly rhino. Conventional thinking initially attributed their extinction to hunting. While overhunting may have contributed, a new study pinpointed a different reason for the woolly rhinos' extinction: climate change.
The last of the woolly rhinos went extinct in Siberia nearly 14,000 years ago, just when the Earth's climate began changing from its frozen conditions to something warmer, wetter and less favorable to the large land mammal. DNA tests conducted by scientists on 14 well-preserved rhinos point to rapid warming as the culprit, CNN reported.
"Humans are well known to alter their environment and so the assumption is that if it was a large animal it would have been useful to people as food and that must have caused its demise," says Edana Lord, a graduate student at the Center for Paleogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden, and co-first author of the paper, Smithsonian Magazine reported. "But our findings highlight the role of rapid climate change in the woolly rhino's extinction."
The study, published in Current Biology, notes that the rhino population stayed fairly consistent for tens of thousands of years until 18,500 years ago. That means that people and rhinos lived together in Northern Siberia for roughly 13,000 years before rhinos went extinct, Science News reported.
The findings are an ominous harbinger for large species during the current climate crisis. As EcoWatch reported, nearly 1,000 species are expected to go extinct within the next 100 years due to their inability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Tigers, eagles and rhinos are especially vulnerable.
The difference between now and the phenomenon 14,000 years ago is that human activity is directly responsible for the current climate crisis.
To figure out the cause of the woolly rhinos' extinction, scientists examined DNA from different rhinos across Siberia. The tissue, bone and hair samples allowed them to deduce the population size and diversity for tens of thousands of years prior to extinction, CNN reported.
Researchers spent years exploring the Siberian permafrost to find enough samples. Then they had to look for pristine genetic material, Smithsonian Magazine reported.
It turns out the wooly rhinos actually thrived as they lived alongside humans.
"It was initially thought that humans appeared in northeastern Siberia fourteen or fifteen thousand years ago, around when the woolly rhinoceros went extinct. But recently, there have been several discoveries of much older human occupation sites, the most famous of which is around thirty thousand years old," senior author Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Center for Paleogenetics, said in a press release.
"This paper shows that woolly rhino coexisted with people for millennia without any significant impact on their population," Grant Zazula, a paleontologist for Canada's Yukon territory and Simon Fraser University who was not involved in the research, told Smithsonian Magazine. "Then all of a sudden the climate changed and they went extinct."
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Transitioning to renewable energy can help reduce global warming, and Jennie Stephens of Northeastern University says it can also drive social change.
For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.
"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."
To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.
"I think that a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential to be able to effectively make these connections," Stephens says. "Diversity is not just about who people are and their identity, but the ideas and the priorities and the approaches and the lens that they bring to the world."
So she says by elevating diverse voices, organizations can better connect the climate benefits of clean energy with social and economic transformation.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.