The 12 Best Kid-Approved Breakfast Foods That Are Perfect for School Days

Our panel of kids and parents tested dozens of new supermarket options, while editors named their classic go-tos for the latest Parents Food Awards list. 

An image of a breakfast food.
Photo: Amazon

Picture how awesome it would be to have enough time on school mornings to make blueberry pancakes from scratch and sit at the table with your kid and a big mug of coffee. The dream, really. But most days, life gets in the way, and making breakfast for kids becomes something you have to do between packing lunch and tracking down all the things they suddenly can't find ("Mom, where's my backpack/socks/library book?").

For the Parents Food Awards 2022 Best Breakfast Foods list, we wanted to come up with easy meals that require little or no cooking. We scoured supermarkets for cereals, bars, yogurts, breads, frozen waffles, and other shortcuts that launched within the last year. We also connected with brands for early samples, so we'd be sure to have the latest items on the market. From there, we mainly narrowed our list to products with a wholesome ingredient list and plenty of vitamins and minerals. We added a few treats for special days, plus a couple of classic faves that our staff suggested.

Then the fun really began: Our panel of kid testers sampled more than 50 products. Not all our toddler to tween testers are adventurous eaters—and we prefer it that way. They rated an item's taste and presentation, while parents and other caregivers chimed in about prep and convenience. After reading through the reviews, we selected the following 12 gems—including dye-free pink waffles, oatmeal balls, and chocolate granola with a secret ingredient—as this year's breakfast winners. Let's eat!

Best Twist on Oatmeal

Go Oats Oatmeal ball
Courtesy of Go Oats

These can be stashed in the freezer and served warm after a turn in the toaster oven or air fryer. GoOats Oatmeal in a Ball are the size of donut holes and made with steel-cut oats, milk, and fruity fillings (testers endorsed the apple-cinnamon).

To buy: GoOats Oatmeal in a Ball, $6.21; amazon.com.

Best Allergy-Friendly Bar

Enjoy Life Breakfast Ovals
Courtesy of Enjoy Life

Produced in a dedicated facility that doesn't process nuts or gluten, the oat-based Enjoy Life Breakfast Ovals are good for days when you're running late and the kids have to eat in the car or at the bus stop. The chocolate chip–banana flavor feels like a treat.

To buy: Enjoy Life Breakfast Ovals, $6.09; amazon.com.

Best English Muffins

Thomas’ Cinnamon Protein English Muffins
Courtesy of Thomas’

It was love at first whiff for young testers whose parents toasted Thomas' Cinnamon Protein English Muffins, which contain 9 grams of protein, compared with 5 in the original flavor, and have only 1 gram of added sugars.

To Buy: Thomas' Cinnamon Protein English Muffins, $2.99; target.com.

Best Fruity Waffles

Nature’s Path Organic EnviroKidz Polar Beary Organic
Courtesy of Nature’s Path

Beet juice and blueberries make Nature's Path Organic EnviroKidz Polar Beary Organic waffles both pinkalicous and delish. "We thought it was cool that some proceeds of each box help endangered polar bears," one parent said.

To buy: Nature's Path Organic EnviroKidz Polar Beary Organic, $4.89; instacart.com.

Best Waffle Design

Eggo Eggoji Waffles
Courtesy of Kellogg’s

Kids LOL'ed at Kellogg's Eggo Eggoji Waffles, a welcome cure for morning blahs. "These are amazing!" enthused one tween. Another noted that the waffle stayed crunchy even after they poured on maple syrup.

To buy: Kellogg's Eggo Eggoji Waffles, $3.19; target.com.

Best Fruity Bar

Nature Valley Soft-Baked Muffin Bars
Courtesy of Nature Valley

Less messy than a muffin—but just as tasty, according to kid testers—the blueberry Nature Valley Soft-Baked Muffin Bars are made with whole grains and lots of little berries.

To buy: Nature Valley Soft-Baked Muffin Bars, $17.37; amazon.com.

Best Fruity Cereal

Kashi Simply Raisin Whole Wheat Biscuit
Courtesy of Kashi

The dried-fruit filling in Kashi Simply Raisin Whole Wheat Biscuit cereal impressed our panelists, who called it "a burst of goodness." Eco-bonus: The brand supports farmers transitioning to organic crops.

To buy: Kashi Simply Raisin Whole Wheat Biscuit, $5.49; instacart.com.

Best Sausage Links

Applegate Organics Chicken Apple Breakfast Sausage
Courtesy of Applegate

A blend of six organic spices, from chili pepper to basil, adds a big flavor boost to Applegate Organics Chicken & Apple Breakfast Sausage. With all-ages appeal, they're a fit for a school morning or a weekend brunch.

To buy: Applegate Organics Chicken & Apple Breakfast Sausage, $6.99; amazon.com.

Best Plant-Based Yogurt

Kite Hill Kids Yogurt
Courtesy of Kite Hill

A mash-up of almond and coconut milks plus two kinds of fruit, the Kite Hill Kids Yogurt Tubes taste creamy. Each of the adorably designed tubes contains just 4 grams of added sugars and is fortified with vitamin D.

To buy: Kite Hill Kids Yogurt Tubes, $4.69; amazon.com.

Best Breakfast Treat

Pillsbury Mini Cinni Stix
Courtesy of Pillsbury

Pillsbury Mini Cinni Stix bake up "light and airy," according to one tester, who made them after a sleepover. Another said, "The cinnamon frosting was a big hit." Each tube makes 24 pieces (each about 3 inches long) so there's plenty to go around.

To buy: Pillsbury Mini Cinni Stix, $2.64; walmart.com.

Best Granola

This Saves Lives Kids GranolaPop Chocolate
Courtesy of This Saves Lives

Little samplers reported that This Saves Lives Kids GranolaPop Chocolate felt special. "I usually don't get to eat chocolate cereal," one said. Made with oats and brown rice syrup and just 5 grams of added sugars, this product is healthy enough for school days.

To buy: This Saves Lives Kids GranolaPop Chocolate, $14.99; amazon.com.

Best Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Strawberry Banana
Courtesy of Quaker

Fast and warming, Quaker Instant Oatmeal Strawberry Banana impressed kid panelists. Raved one: "I love strawberry oatmeal, but the banana flavor with the strawberry made it sooooo good."

To buy: Quaker Instant Oatmeal Strawberry Banana, $2.99; target.com.

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