Last week I shared the first in a series of posts on how I have also been changing the family’s diet. You can see the changes I have made to the family evening meals in this post.
My aim with changing what the family eats is to focus on a whole food approach. They kids and their dad still eat dairy, gluten, pasta, bread and grains. But with some small changes to reduce the level of processed foods they consume, we have made significant in roads to a healthier diet. Evening meals were an easy change to make, but breakfast required some planning on my behalf.
We were big cereal eaters in our house. Up until the start of the year one of the nightly jobs myself or my husband would do would be to set the table for breakfast. This would involve setting out a bowl for each child and placing 3 -4 boxes of cereal on the table. Most commonly it would be Just Right, Weet Bix Crunch, Rice Bubbles and Instant Oats.
As I was reading and learning more about basic nutrition, I realised we needed to make big changes to what the kid were eating, particularly bumping up the protein content of their breakfast.
I started with my husband first late last year. He had been having a bowl of Just Right for breakfast every day for about the last five years! Training for an Ironman however meant I had the best motivator to get him to kick the habit. He simply needed more fuel to train at the level he was doing. So he changed to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, sweet potato, with or without toast.
Early in January with the kids on school holidays i decided this would be the perfect time to work on changing what the kids ate for breakfast. With no need to be out of the house at a set time, I could spend time with each of the older three kids as they woke and teach them how to make a more substantial breakfast. I did teach the younger two kids ways they could make their own breakfast as well, but on a much smaller scale.
I wasn’t sure if we would be able to keep it up once the kids went back to school, but we have successfully kept commercial cereal off the table for the first two school terms of this year.
I am so happy with this. But I need to point out that it does take extra work on my behalf. The older three make their own breakfasts and depending on what the younger two choose to have, they can make their own, but most often I make it for them at the moment.
There is also more work making sure I have everything available so the older kids can make their own breakfast. There is sometimes more work due to the tidy up required after the breakfasts have been made.
I am okay with this. I am not sure I could have undertaken this when I had babies or toddlers about, not sure I would have found the time. But teaching the kids about the basics of good nutrition is important to me, so it is something I am happy to spend the time on now.
So what do they eat???
This is a favourite of the youngest. He would have porridge most mornings. You can see my slow cooker steel cut oats porridge recipe here.
Other days I will use quick oats and milk/Coco Quench in the microwave.
Three of the five kids would have this about once a week. You can find my kid friendly muesli recipe on Essential Kids.
Even though we have moved into the colder months, smoothies are still very popular with the kids. Back in January I purchased a George Foreman Mix an Go (from memory it was about $40.) It has been such a fantastic investment.
I created a base set of instructions for the kids to follow at the start. The older three don’t need them any more and can whip themselves up a smoothie in no time.
The basic ingredients are:
- Greek yogurt
- 1 or 2 raw eggs
- frozen fruit (I have banana, raspberries and mango in the freezer. I also have kale, but the kids never go for it!)
The kids can also add chia seeds, almonds, cashews, cacao powder and any other fruits we have on hand. With the exception of the 15 year old, the kids all find the smoothie filling and keeps them going until recess at school.
The older three are all capable of cooking themselves a hot breakfast. Exactly what they have varies with each child but includes breakfasts like:
- mushrooms, eggs and tomato
- bacon and eggs
- egg in a basket (egg cooked into the bread)
All the kids love eggs for breakfast and fried is not the only way they cook them. The older three can also make themselves an omelette and they can also use the egg cooker you see in the photo above.
I love this egg cooker! It costs me $20 from ALDI last year and it has been one of the best value purchases I have made. (It is one of the first things I pack when I travel for work!). The cooker lets you cook up to 7 eggs soft or hard boiled. You have little trays that you can use to make scrambled type egg and it can also steam some veggies.
The kids will use this if they want a boiled egg or scrambled eggs if they don’t feel like making them in the pan.
Eggs, fry ups and smoothies are what breakfasts consist of most days at home now. But there are other breakfasts they will have as the mood takes them which revolve around toast:
- Avocado on toast
- Peanut butter on toast
- Left over bolognese sauce on toast
- Melted cheese on toast
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