We’ve all heard the adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” In truth, besides being associated with better memory, eating a healthy breakfast has also been linked to better test scores, increased attention span and decreased irritability in kids. That’s why we’ve synced up with a registered dietician to get the skinny on the importance of breakfast and easy ways to make it happen every morning. The major bonus is that you can score all these easy breakfast ideas at Trader Joe’s! Keep reading to see them all.
Steel Cut Oats
Marissa Kent, RDN, shares that "breakfast is the meal that not only helps ensure kids eat enough to support their growth, but it also replenishes their blood sugar level, which is needed to perform well in school. Breakfast foods that contain carbohydrates will replenish a child’s glucose levels."
Oatmeal or steel-cut oats are a great option. High in insoluble fiber, steel-cut oats help maintain a healthy and regular digestive system. They are naturally free of gluten, which makes them a good option for most diets, and are easily customizable by adding fruit, nuts, seeds or nut butter. Dieticians love steel-cut oats because of their low glycemic index, fiber, high iron content and their status as a complex carbohydrate, which helps to maintain a steady flow of energy throughout the day—something your kiddo needs to get through school.
Trader Joe's has you covered in the steel oat department: you can choose between the frozen or the boxed version (which requires a little more cooking).
When it comes to super health food, Açaí is here to stay. The vibrant fruit is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which mean tons of health benefits for your littles. Enjoy a faster recovery time from illness, better cognitive functioning and a more controlled appetite when you serve an Açaí Bowl for breakfast.
You can snag Trader Joe's frozen Açaí, which is priced a little under $5 and is easily combined with greens and fruit to make a nutritious breakfast that almost tastes like ice cream.
Buttermilk Protein Pancakes
Skip sneaking protein powder into your pancakes, and just buy Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake mix! Made with whole wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, whey protein concentrate and buttermilk powder, each serving of two flapjacks equal 10 grams of protein. Why should you pack in the protein? In addition to keeping kids full longer, protein helps to build muscle in growing littles, boosts metabolism and helps bodies repair themselves after an injury.
Do your kids love eggs? You'll want to pick up a box of Trader Joe's Egg Fritata's on your next grocery run. Each mini egg round is made with egg whites, whole eggs, and whey protein concentrate, which equates to 12 grams of protein and 15% of your daily calcium.
Also, consuming eggs is linked to better eye health, an increase in good cholesterol, better bone health as a result of calcium, and kids will get a good serving of tons of vitamins from A to Selenium.
Kent states that parents should "aim for a balanced plate with a variety of nutrient-rich foods each morning to fuel the child’s body and brain." That's why we love the easy to make multi-grain frozen waffles from Trader Joe's. After toasting one up, add fruit and nut butter to round out this tasty breakfast that meets all your kids' nutritional needs right out of the gate.
Smoothie with Milk
"Including a source of dairy, such as milk, at breakfast is important as it helps make sure children are getting enough calcium. Milk has been shown to be the top source of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and potassium for kids" says Kent.
Ensuring your kids have dairy or a dairy alternative source can go a long way. A simple way to sneak it in is to blend up a smoothie that contains the calcium-rich food with leafy greens and fruit. You can find plenty of dairy and non-dairy options at Trader Joe's, like nut or oat milk, in addition to tons of frozen fruit options that will make your smoothie a cinch.
Yogurt with Fruit
Having yogurt in the morning means your kids are getting a healthy serving of protein, calcium and live cultures: All of these things work together to keep kids full longer (and have a healthier gut). On your next Trader Joe's run, check out the huge selection of dairy and dairy-alternative yogurt products like greek, creamy cashew and cultured coconut milk options. Toss in fresh fruit and whole-grain cereal to make a fun parfait, and your kiddos will love eating healthy before you know it.
Chicken or Turkey Sausage
Do your kids love a heartier breakfast? Substituting with one of the many Trader Joe's sausage options is the way to go. Choose from tasty flavors like Sweet or Spicy Italian, or Apple Chicken when pairing with eggs or whole-grain toast. Turkey and chicken sausages are a leaner option when it comes to meat than their pork counterpart, and are a great source of protein.
"Breakfast is a prime opportunity to provide children with a source of choline by serving eggs. Choline is important for the creation of memory cells," says Kent. Not only can you get a healthy serving of eggs when you serve up Trader Joe's Mixed Mushroom & Spinach quiche, but you also sneak in lots of greens, too. Check out TJ's freezer aisle for several other flavors if your kids aren't partial to this version.
Organic Coconut Almond Chia Cereal
If your kiddo isn't super hungry in the morning, you probably already buy a decent amount of cereal to get them going. Instead of the sugar-dense options, check out Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Almond Chia cereal, and dispel any negative comments about serving up a bowl of cereal in the AM. Kent states that "Most ready-to-eat or cooked breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Some may also be protein and fiber-rich. Kids can get a significant amount of nutrients from these cereals."