Now that school is back in session, weekday mornings can be stressful.
I always aim to have the kids groomed, fed, and out the door in record time, but my kids move slowly in the mornings. One of the most time-consuming parts of my morning is often making breakfast and then I spend even more time trying to coerce my children into eating whatever I have thrown together. My favorite morning is cereal morning because it’s EASY PEASY. However, as I scanned the cereal aisle at the grocery store this week, I couldn’t help but notice how many unhealthy options parents are likely buying for their kids. I asked NYC Eat Well registered dietician, Deborah Malkoff-Cohen to help me find some healthy and fast options for breakfast. Read below for her list of yummy and healthy breakfast recipes and learn some new tools, to help you make better choices, too!
How can I pick a healthy cereal for my kid? Does that exist?
Deborah: Here are FOUR tips to help you pick a healthy cereal!
1. Look at the ingredient list; can you read and understand all of them?
They’re listed in descending order.
(i.e.) Is the cereal made from 100% whole grains, like oats, wheat and barley? Whole grains should be the first ingredients → 100% whole wheat is different from whole wheat. If sugar is listed as one of the top 3, move along; say no to artificial colors as well.
2. How much fiber does the cereal have?
Look for at least 3 grams per serving → Fiber helps slow digestion to keep those bellies full and blood sugar steady until lunch.
3. Aim for minimum 5 grams of protein per serving.
Protein is another powerhouse like fiber to keep you feeling satisfied.
4. What are the sugar grams per serving?
Ideally, aim for 5 grams or less per serving (1.25 teaspoons).
TIP: Find the sugar grams on the Nutrition Fact Panel and divide by 4 → that is the teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Are all MILKS equal?
Deborah: The goal is to maximize the total protein content of breakfast, so reading the nutrition label of whatever milk you choose is essential. For example, cow’s milk has 8 grams of protein per cup from skim to whole; the only differences are in the fat and calories. Certain non-dairy milks like soymilk and flax milk (Good Karma) also provide 8 grams per cup, but others (coconut, hemp, rice, almond, etc.) do not match up in the protein department and have added sugar so choose unsweetened varieties.
Deborah’s cereal recommendations:
- General Mills Cheerios → 140 calories, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber, and 2 g sugar
- Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Cereal — Organic Warm Cinnamon → 150 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g fiber and 7 g sugar (kids love these!)
- Kind Cereal Apple Cinnamon → 220 calories, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber and 7 g sugar
- Kashi Autumn Wheat Whole-Wheat Biscuits → 200 calories, 7g protein, 7g fiber and 7g sugar
- Nature’s Path Original Oatmeal → 190 calories, 8g protein, 6g fiber and 1g sugar (I love this oatmeal!) – I make it with Good Karma Flax Milk and add ½ banana that I microwave for 20 seconds to sweeten plus a little cinnamon. Delish!
If cereal isn’t your thing, check out these other amazing recipes Deborah shared with us for a fast and healthy option in the morning!
Use any of the the cereals from above with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
Strawberries and blueberries are the easiest to keep in the fridge, but you can really use any fruit that you want, like bananas, apples, or raspberries.
Breakfast chicken apple sausage
This makes and excellent healthy side dish for oatmeal, eggs, or waffles.
Whole grain pancakes or waffles
Grab some Red Mill Mix and prep these ahead of time!
High protein bread with peanut butter/Jelly.
Deborah likes Dave’s Killer Bread, which has 21 Whole Grains and Seeds, Thin-Sliced: 3 g pro/slice. If your kids cannot eat peanut butter, try making it into grilled cheese or even better avocado toast!
Egg bites are SOOO easy and can be customized to include healthy vegetables like broccoli, sweet peppers, and carrots. For a little egg-bite inspiration, check out these fun, toddler-approved recipes from Babyfoode –> 4 BREAKFAST EGG MUFFINS (BABY, TODDLER + KID-APPROVED)
Huge thanks to the Food Network, for showing us how to make eggs in the microwave! Not only is it faster, but it’s easy enough that your big kids can do it themselves (or with a little help from mom) –> HOW TO COOK AN EGG IN THE MICROWAVE
And be sure to try Deborah’s recipe for a healthy and delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothie!
This simple smoothie is Lizzie-tested and approved! Just toss all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
1 cup Good Karma Flax Milk + Protein + Unsweetened
½ Cup 1% Greek Yogurt, Plain
1 Medium Banana
1 Tbsp. Unsweetened Peanut Butter
½ Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Flaxseed Powder
½ Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
375 calories, 14g fat, 38g carbs, 8g fiber, 18g sugar (no added sugar), 23g protein
About Nutritionist Deborah Malkoff-Cohen
Deborah Malkoff-Cohen is a Registered Dietitian and the founder and owner of NYC Eat Well, a nutrition consultancy that focuses on individual/family wellness, autoimmune disorders, pre/postnatal nutrition, and all aspects of diabetes and weight loss management. She is known for my “All Foods Fit” philosophy 🡪 dessert or alcohol can remain on the menu! Diets, cutting out food groups and restriction do not work, lifestyle shifts need to happen that are sustainable and doable. Deborah is passionate about helping kids achieve physical and emotional health while promoting the importance of healthy eating. She loves working with families and teens and setting them up for success, giving them the tools and the “why” behind making healthier choices.
Deborah is also a CDCES (Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist) and an expert in adult weight management and all things diabetes related 🡪 gestational diabetes, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- Certified in Fertility Nutrition
- Certification in Pregnancy Nutrition – currently underway!
- Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Certification in Gut Health
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Certification in Hormone Health
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Certification in Emotional Eating
Email: [email protected]