At Lion and Panda’s new daycare, we can bring breakfast for the kids (they provide all snacks and lunch). Although they both eat something as soon as they wakeup, we also bring breakfast for them since most other kids bring food and I didn’t want them to feel left out. I try to make sure that their breakfasts are healthy, which for our purposes I classify as low in added sugars and minimally processed (if possible), but are also easy to grab as we are leaving the house. Here are some healthy, packable breakfasts that our kids love. These are also all nut-free since that is an enforced rule at their current daycare.
Plain Greek yogurt and fruit. This is our default because the kids love plain yogurt and fruit and it’s a relatively inexpensive option. We do buy single servings of plain yogurt for school even though I hate how wasteful individual servings are in terms of packaging; the convenience factor is just so important to us right now. We do plain yogurt because the flavored ones have a lot of added sugar, food coloring, etc. When Lion was younger, I used to mix in unsweetened jam, but then he started getting mad whenever we put anything into his yogurt so we switched to just plain yogurt. For fruit, we pack snack bag ziplocs of whatever is in season: blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, watermelon and cantaloupe are all great options. Panda likes to dip his peaches into his yogurt to eat. I’ve also thought about sending homemade granola, but we always put nuts in ours, which is not permitted at their daycare.
Egg sandwiches. I like to beat eggs with some cheese and add in additional fillings like chicken apple sausage or zucchini. I pour the mixture into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Then, I pop each egg muffin into a whole wheat english muffin and top with a slice of cheese. I wrap each one in aluminum foil. In the mornings, while we’re getting ready, I’ll pop the foil-wrapped egg sandwich into the oven, set the oven to 350 degrees and turn it off once the preheat is off. I leave it in until right when we’re heading out the door. We live only five minutes away from their new daycare, so the sandwiches stay hot and the cheese is still melty by the time we get there. You could also skip the bread and serve just an egg muffin!
Mini quiches. Last night for dinner, I made individual serving quiches in muffin tins. I also made a bunch of mini quiches using a mini-muffin tin and will let the kids pick several out for breakfast tomorrow. I think quiche is delicious hot or cold, though I suspect the kids will want me to put them in foil and heat them up. When I make individual servings of quiche, I mix the eggs, cream and cheese in a bowl then fill up each muffin well. I can then make lots of different types of quiche simply by putting different additional fillings into the muffin containers, like broccoli, squash, or sausage. While not the healthiest meal, I do like that the kids are getting plenty of protein.
Oatmeal. While we haven’t done oatmeal yet, when the weather starts to cool down, I expect we will send oatmeal and fruit. I love making a big batch of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend and packing leftovers for myself during the week. I often add quinoa and chia seeds and pack a side of fruit. You could pack in a container like a thermos, or use something disposable with a lid like these.
Miso soup. I love soup for breakfast. I pretty much grew up on Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for breakfast (one of the very few “breakfast” foods I actually would eat as a kid), but canned soup is generally very high in sodium and not the healthiest option. Like oatmeal, I enjoy cooking up a huge batch of miso soup on Sunday and bringing leftovers the rest of the week. I make a pretty basic miso soup with kombu, dashi stock, miso and extra-firm silken tofu. Miso soup is very healthy (both the miso paste and seaweed provide good health benefits) and provides protein (from the tofu). Panda, in particular, loves miso soup and will be thrilled once we start sending it for breakfast when the weather cools off a bit.
Muffins. We have a couple muffin recipes that the kids really enjoy and are pretty healthy. Our favorite is a coconut pumpkin muffin made from whole wheat flour that uses only a teaspoon of sugar in a muffin, as most of the flavor comes from coconut oil and pumpkin. Muffins have the potential to be highly processed and very sugary, but we try to adapt recipes to reduce the sugar content. These are easy to throw into a ziploc bag or wrap in foil if the kids want them toasted.
What are your favorite packable breakfasts?