Bored with breakfast? Of course a bowl of whole grain, high fiber, low sugar cereal topped with nonfat milk and some nuts or fresh berries tastes great, packs in key nutrients, and is easy to prepare when you're tight on time. But sometimes it's good to think outside the bowl! Here are 20 back-to-school breakfasts suggested by registered dietitians to start both you and your kids off on the right foot as you head out the door each day. Most take no more than a few minutes to prepare, and pack in fiber, protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to help kids stay nourished and energized. An added bonus? They're the perfect excuse for your entire family to sit down and enjoy a morning meal, if even for a few minutes.
1. Sweet Parfait. Layer plain, low fat regular or Greek yogurt, fresh berries in season, and whole grain, low sugar cereal (like Barbara's Puffins or Cheerios). Top with a drizzle of honey, if desired.
2. Cinna-toast: Top 2 slices whole grain cinnamon-raisin toast 2 tablespoons each low fat vanilla yogurt.
3. Morning Sunshine Crepes. Whisk 1/2 cup each white and whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 cup of nonfat milk until the batter is thin. Spray a small 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium heat. Place approximately 1/2 cup batter in pan, swirling immediately around bottom of pan in a thin layer. Flip with a spatula when lightly browned on bottom. Continue to cook until other side lightly brown. Slide onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter. Fill top 1/3 of a crepe with 2 tablespoons each nonfat yogurt and fresh blueberries and strawberries. Roll into a crepe and dust powdered sugar lightly over top.
4. Nutty Granola Wrap: Fill 1 whole wheat flour tortilla with 1 tablespoon peanut or sun butter, 1/2 sliced banana and a sprinkle of granola and roll into a wrap.
5. Happy Waffles. Spread 1 or 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and blueberries in the shape of a smiley face on 1 or 2 whole grain waffles. Serve with a glass of nonfat milk.
6. Fruity or Nutty Oatmeal. Top 1 cup plain instant oats made with low-fat milk with a mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon. Or, top instant oats with 1 to 2 tablespoons slivered almonds or chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup strawberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
7. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal. Pour 1 cup steaming hot water over 1/2 cup old fashioned oats in a serving bowl or mug. Add 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter and stir well, allowing it to melt throughout the oatmeal. Top with a dollup of low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon chocolate chips.
8. Breakfast Burrito with Mini Egg Frittatas. Top a whole wheat flour tortilla with an egg frittata (see recipe below) topped with a tablespoon of salsa and sliced avocado and heat for 30 seconds.
Recipe for egg frittata: Over the weekend or in the evening, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix 6 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, ¼ cup skim milk and 1 cup of your favorite veggies. Pour into regular-sized muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Refrigerate for use during the week. Makes 2 dozen mini frittatas.
9. Bread and Butter. Top 1 or 2 slices Ezekiel raisin bread (available at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sprouts, or other health food stores) with 2 tablespoons almond butter + 1 cup of fresh seasonal berries.
10. Berry Delicious Nutty Waffles. Top 2 whole wheat waffles with 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup berries, 2 tablespoons walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
11. Chocolate Walnut Pancakes. Stir whole grain pancake batter with 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon of dark chocolate chips. Serve with 1 tablespoon real maple syrup (or 2 tablespoons light syrup) and 1 cup of skim milk.
12. Apple Cinnamon Waffles. Top toasted whole grain waffles with a tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve with 1 cup of skim milk.
13. Cherry Vanilla Freeze: Combine 3/4 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries, 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 2 ice cubes and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract in blender or food processor and blend. Drink immediately. Serve with a slice of whole wheat toast.
14. Fresh Apple Pie Smoothie. In a heavy duty blender (like a Vitamix), place 1 chopped apple (core removed), 1 cup nonfat milk or soy milk, 1/3 cup oats, 2 teaspoons maple sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and about 1 cup of ice. Blend until desired consistency is achieved. Serve in a glass with additional cinnamon sprinkled on top. Makes 2 small servings.
15. English Muffin Pizza. Top a toasted, sliced whole wheat English muffin with 2 tablespoons low sodium tomato sauce and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese OR 2 tablespoons low sodium salsa and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with 1/2 cup skim milk or calcium-fortified orange juice.
16. Waffle Sandwich: Top a toasted whole wheat waffle with natural peanut or almond butter and sliced fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, or apple) and a drizzle of honey and cinnamon. Top with another waffle to make a sandwich and serve with a cup of low-fat milk.
17. Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwich: Add a sliced hard-boiled egg*, low-sodium deli ham, and a slice of low-fat cheese (and Dijon mustard, if desired) to a toasted slice of whole grain bread or a whole wheat English muffin. (*Make a few hard-boiled eggs over the weekend or the night before.)
18. Cheesy Cinnamon Raisin Bagel: Melt a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on half of a whole grain cinnamon-raisin bagel. Top with Granny Smith apple slices.
19. Avocado Burrito: Fill a whole wheat flour tortilla with three egg whites and one yolk and sweet peppers scrambled in 1 teaspoon canola oil, and 1/5 avocado, sliced.
20. Grilled Cheese French Toast: Spray non-stick cooking spray (or pour one teaspoon canola oil) onto a pan and heat. Dip 2 slices whole wheat bread in one egg and add to the pan. Cook the bread until it browns, flip over, add one slice of cheese (Swiss or cheddar) to one of the slice of bread, and top with the other slice of bread. Serve it with fresh strawberries (or other fresh fruit) and 1/2 cup of nonfat milk.
What's your favorite morning meal?
Thanks to the following registered dietitians who contributed some of their favorite nutritious breakfasts to this list: Jessica Corwin, MPH, RDN, Jessica Cox, RD, Melissa Herrmann Dierks RDN, LDN, CDE, Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, Leah Kaufman, MS, RD, CDN, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, Cynthia Palmerino MS, RD, EA Stewart, MBA, RD, Allison Topilow, MS, RD, CDN, and Lori Zanini, RD, CDE.
Image of delicious fruit, Greek yogurt and granola parfaits on white background via Shutterstock.