How to Get Your Child a High Protein Breakfast Every Morning
A high protein breakfast is critical for kids, especially during the school year. Protein fuels your child for learning and keeps them full longer—especially when paired with fiber: “The goal for the first meal of the day is to pair a protein with a high fiber carbohydrate. These two nutrients will aid in balancing blood sugars, which is key to keeping children fueled and attentive during the day,” suggests medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.
Yet, kids naturally crave sweets, like fruit or higher-carb foods, because that’s what our body is hardwired to want. This makes it harder to make sure they get enough protein. Not to mention, picky eaters may turn away from certain meats and those with dietary restrictions may not be able to indulge in other high-protein foods, like yogurt or nuts and seeds. Pair that with chaotic school mornings and it’s simply easier to give them what they want and get out the door in time.
The good news is, a little creativity goes a long way. Use the following tips, recipes and ideas to get your student a high protein breakfast every morning.
When you think of a high protein breakfast, you probably imagine eggs, bacon and dairy. If so, you’re forgetting one important option: protein smoothies. Your kids will get all the fuel they need—and you don’t have to cook anything or even prep ahead of time.
If you’ve never served your child protein smoothies, start by reading through our Protein Powder Guide For Kids. If you want to give protein powder a try, don’t forget to check out Healthy Height’s Shake Mix, which is pediatrician developed and tested. It’s also gluten free, with no added sugars, no rbST, no artificial flavors and no corn syrup. It comes in chocolate and vanilla, so even picky eaters will love a breakfast protein smoothie.
Remember that a well-rounded protein smoothie has vegetables, fruit, protein, and fat, and alternative sweetener is optional. And if you don’t want to use protein powder, most fats double as a great source of protein as well. Use our helpful guide to quickly choose ingredients:
- Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, bananas, cherries, pineapple, mango, peaches, apples, oranges
- Veggies: spinach, kale, cauliflower, canned pumpkin, cooked sweet potato, roasted squash, carrots
- Fat: milk, yogurt, coconut oil, coconut shreds, avocado, flax seed, chia seeds, nut butters
- Alternative sweeteners: stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar
Protein smoothies aren’t the only way to sneak extra protein into breakfast. There are many ways you can boost the protein content of your kid’s favorite meals with just a few small adjustments. Here are a few to try:
- Add nuts or Healthy Height Shake Mix to yogurt
- Mix protein powder into pancakes (try this recipe!)
- Mix organic sausage or bacon into scrambled eggs
- Stir nut butter into oatmeal
- Pair whole grain toast with a hardboiled egg
These small adjustments can make a world of difference for their daily protein intake. And you likely won’t have to put up a fight because they get to indulge in the breakfast foods they already love.
This is one of the best ways to get your child a substantial, high-protein breakfast in the morning without having to spend 30-plus minutes in the kitchen. The idea is simple: you prep breakfast for the whole week on Sunday, freeze, and then heat up one serving every morning. If you already meal prep on Sundays, this will fit right into your usual routine, and you’ll feel great sending your kid off to school with a hearty, healthy breakfast in their belly.
Instead of giving your kids the option of sugary cereal, leave the high-sugar breakfast foods on the shelf. Instead, buy only high-protein cereals. Not only is this one of the easiest breakfasts to make, but kids will be happy to indulge without fussing, making everyone’s life a little easier.
When choosing cereals, remember that children ages 4 to 6 need minimum of 0.5 grams of protein per pound while children 7 to 14 only need minimum of 0.45 grams of protein per pound, according to experts. Therefore, if the average weight of a six year old girl is 55 pounds, she should have 27.5 grams of protein each day. Keep this in mind as you read labels, looking for cereals that have at least 5 grams of protein per serving.
When paired with milk, the protein content will increase. For example, one cup of 1 or 2 percent milk has 8 grams of protein. Most nut-based milks, however, have much less protein per serving, with almond milk offering just 1 gram of protein per cup.
Send your little one to school with a full belly and a brain that’s ready to learn with these simple ideas. A high protein breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Start the day with smoothies, freezer meals, or better cereal and everyone will be happier and healthier.