Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Quick, healthy breakfasts for kids (and grown ups!)

Early mornings are not my favourite time of the day.  My daughter is of a similar opinion so we have a pact: we do not speak to one another until we have both had a good breakfast.  It makes for a more pleasant morning for everyone.

So what is a good breakfast for kids?  I know it's much easier to give them a bowl of cereal than to cook a meal and on days when I really can't be bothered and it's a get-your-own-breakfast-day, that's exactly what I do.

But not all cereals are created equal.  I have looked at the ingredients of all the cereals on the supermarket shelves here in the UK and what I discovered was quite shocking.  There are only a handful of cereals that do not contain any added sugar at all.

So on the days I can't be bothered, or I don't have time, my kids have either: raw porridge oats with milk and honey, raisin wheats with milk or sugar-free Alpen with milk and perhaps a chopped banana on top.  This way, I know they are having a breakfast that won't give them a sudden sugar high followed by a dip just as they start work at school and that the complex carbohydrates will keep them going until lunch time.

On the mornings when I do have the inclination, we have cooked porridge, to which I add raisins or frozen fruit - blueberries or cherries or raspberries etc, and the kids add honey.  This takes 10 minutes to cook on the hob (it's much quicker in the microwave).  We also have Bircher muesli, which is one of the kids' favourite.  Scrambled or poached eggs is also quick as they only takes 5 minutes to cook - great with rye ryveta and tomatoes.

Sometimes, when I have longer - like at the weekends, or when for some unfathomable reason I'm up early, we have grilled pork chops, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and oatcakes or oaty banana pancakes with dark chocolate sauce or daddy pancakes, which are oats, cottage cheese and egg, fried in a little butter with marmite spread on top.

It takes a little preparation and thought but not much and it makes such a difference to their day.

Here's my super quick recipe for Bircher Muesli:

This part takes 45 seconds to do
Oats, soaked in enough fruit juice of your choice to make it sloppy-ish.  Apple or orange juice works best.  Let that soak in for around 3 mins while you chase the kids' book bags and shoes etc.
This part takes 30 seconds to do
Put some frozen berries in a pan with a squirt of honey and let it simmer down into a sort of lumpy coulis.
This part needs your attention for 2 minutes
Toast a few almonds and hazelnuts in a pan for a few minutes.
This part takes 45 seconds to do.
Add a few dollops of Greek yoghurt and some raisins to the oat mixture.  Take to the table and serve with the fruit coulis and nuts.
Done, in under 5 minutes.  Don't tell me you don't have time for that!

If you have time, grated apple (keep the skin on) is a great addition but it's equally good without.

So even if you're an ogre in the mornings, like me, with these quick brekkies, you can be ready for a civilised chat in no time!

Krish x

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