If you've got a set amount of time in the morning to feed yourself and the kids and get everybody out the door on time, breakfast sometimes slips through the cracks! Going back to school shouldn't mean skimping on nutrition - especially when it comes to breakfast. Long touted as the most important meal of the day, for most of us, its also the most rushed meal of the day. Here's some quick tips to help make sure all members of the family start the day well-nourished with a quick, healthy breakfast on school days, even if you just have a few minutes to spare.
Instead of the usual “milk and cereal” routine, try experimenting with vanilla rice milk, almond milk, or vanilla soymilk. Because these non-dairy milks are already sweet, your little ones may be enticed to trade in their “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs” (the cereal of choice for my favorite comic book character) for something a bit more nutritious. If you avoid all animal products, be sure you find a vegan cereal. Or, instead of cereal, try some crunchy granola with soy yogurt.
Related recipe: How to make your own granola
If you've never tried pre-packaged instant oatmeal, you absolutely must! Granted, its not as healthy as plain oatmeal, but kids love the variety of flavors available - my favorite is the vanilla flavor. Or, spruce up your plain oatmeal with a handful of frozen fruit and some nuts. Use agave nectar or maple syrup as a sweetener instead of sugar.
Related recipe:Peanut butter oatmeal
Think outside the box – cereal box, that is. Who says that breakfast has to consist of bacon and eggs, cereal and milk, or pancakes? Expand your breakfast options by including foods that you wouldn't normally think of eating for breakfast. An Asian friend of mine grew up eating tofu with soy sauce and onions for breakfast. A simple stir-fry with plenty of veggies can be a great breakfast!
Related recipe:Vegetable stir-fry recipes
Flour tortillas are your friend. They can be spread with peanut butter and jelly for a kid-approved wrap, or stuffed with hummus or baba ganoush, veggies and lettuce for a quick wrap. I like to keep vegetarian deli slices on hand to toss into a flour tortilla as well. Wraps are much easier to munch on the run than a traditional sandwich with bread. Or, make a breakfast burrito! If you've got a can of beans, some salsa and maybe some soy cheese on hand, you've got the makings for a breakfast burrito. If you've got ten minutes or so to spare, you can also stuff a tortilla with tofu scramble to eat on the run.
Related recipe:Easy peanut butter breakfast wrap for kids
Pre-made breakfast cookies or breakfast bars are great to keep on hand, and can last several days in the refrigerator.
Keep it simple. An apple and a banana for breakfast take no time to prepare at all, and will give you a head-start in getting in your 5 daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Cruise the freezer section of your grocery store to find vegetarian breakfast “sausage” patties or veggie “bacon”. Just heat and serve as you would with meat-based sausage patties. In the produce or refrigerator section of your grocery store, you might also be able to find veggie chorizo (“soyrizo”), Tofurky-brand sausages or GimmeLean sausages. Just heat and serve, or, incorporate into a breakfast burrito.
Related recipe: Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito with Mock Meat Sausage
Warm up some marinara sauce and soy cheese on a toasted English muffin or bagel for a perfect kid-sized pizza that can be eaten on the run.
Prepare your lunch the night before. That's right – lunch. I find that if I have my lunch ready to go, I have a few extra minutes to spend thinking about breakfast in the morning.
If you're really eating on the go, here's a few meals that you can eat with one hand while steering with the other (not that I do that – nor would I recommend it!):
Packaged smoothies or soy yogurt drinks. Look for Silk Live! brand ready-to-drink soymilk smoothies.
Grab a Clif or Luna bar. Both are vegan, mostly organic, and, if you can find them on sale, much less expensive than other meal replacement bars.
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