Start the day off with a hearty breakfast and get some whole grains in your family from the moment they are up and ready. With some savvy label reading skills, breakfast can be ready almost instantaneously and healthy too.
There is nothing wrong with cold breakfast cereal for breakfast, but this is the place that often traps us with misleading packaging. Make sure the words whole grain precedes the main ingredient like whole grain oats or whole grain wheat. The Whole Grains Council even has a stamp on some cereals, but you can find a list of their approved products and see if your favorite is on the list.
You might get a shock from seeing just how much sugar is in many cold cereals. But there are brands out there that are chock full of whole grains and light on the sugar too. If your children are used to having candy-sweet cereals they may not be happy with an unsweetened one. To help them make the transition add a small amount of sweetener and add lots of fresh fruit. Each day use less sweetener until your child is happy with just fruit and unsweetened cereal. It’s an easy way to add one more serving of fruit into their routine.
A hot, steaming bowl of oatmeal is the quintessential way to start a winter’s morning. But you can have oatmeal any time of the year.
Instant packets are convenient but are expensive and usually have sugar added in. Save some money by buying plain rolled oats, pulsing them in a food processor a few times, and put into single serving containers. You don’t want to go to the point that you have oat flour, but you want them small enough to cook quickly with some added water. This is even cheaper if you buy your rolled oats in bulk.
You can use other nutritious whole grains just the way you would oatmeal. Mix it up with steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, or other interesting whole grains. Make it even easier on your morning routine by cooking them in a slow cooker overnight. You can add applesauce to sweeten and other flavors to keep it interesting. On my blog I have over 60 different oatmeal recipes. You can use quinoa, brown rice, etc. in place of the steel-cut oats to give your mornings even more variety!
I use a 1 ½ to 2 quart slow cooker which makes enough oatmeal for 2 to 3 servings, but you can use a 4 or 5 quart slow cooker if you double the recipe. Some slow cookers cook hot so you will need to add up to a ½ cup extra liquid. This also depends on how long you cook it. So add extra liquid if you put the oatmeal on early too.
If your child is oatmeal resistant try this purple monster oatmeal, this might be the one to get them to give in and they get a serving of veggies in it too!