One of the advantages of being an at-home parent is how much more time you have to do things with your family. There’s no rushing about trying to get everyone out the door first thing in the morning, clean and neat and well fed.

Yeah, right. Except when school’s in session.

In my opinion, in many ways it is harder for stay at home parents to get their kids going on school mornings. Not due to any particular failure on their part, but simply because many of them don’t have a morning routine. When the kids aren’t in school there’s little need for one. No rush for both mom and dad to get ready while the children do the same. It makes it a little more challenging sometimes.

But a good morning routine is very helpful, especially when it comes to encouraging good eating habits. Breakfast is a meal very easily skipped, despite its importance.

Routines will vary from family to family, but the most important point to consider here is the need to leave enough time for everyone to get breakfast.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t need a full pancake breakfast with all the trimmings every day; that’s too much food for most people’s needs these days. But you do need a healthy start to the day.

Healthy cereals are a pretty good way to get going. I don’t mean the sugar-laden cereals that children beg for. I mean the ones that serve some actual nutritional purpose. Another good reason to avoid sugar cereals is that too much sugar is not good for the brain, and will end up making your kids more tired after the sugar high.
Even better is something with protein. Your brain needs protein to do its best work. The morning classics such as bacon, eggs or sausage are good sources. If you don’t have time to cook eggs in the morning, boil them the night before. Nuts are another good source of protein. I would imagine this to be especially important if your kids have a big test coming up. Get that brain working its best.
I also recommend including some fruit with breakfast. Fresh, frozen or canned, just so long as you minimize any added sugar to those last two. Eating the actual fruit is better than simply downing a glass of juice.

If everyone is rushing about, consider trying fruit smoothies as an option. Throw some frozen fruits, juice and any other ingredients that sound good into the blender. Bananas and carrots go very well in smoothies. You don’t need to add sugar to most smoothies, as the fruits are generally sweet enough on their own.

Also consider skipping the traditional breakfast foods and seeing what everyone wants to eat. There’s no reason to only eat certain kinds of food for breakfast. You may not enjoy leftover spaghetti for breakfast, but if the kids do, there’s no harm to it.

It takes some effort to eat well every morning, but it’s quite worth the effort. If your mornings tend to be rushed, just have quick yet healthy foods on hand so that a good breakfast can be had even if you’re running behind.

[tags]family,breakfast[/tags]