The Breakfast Solution for Busy Mornings
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Does anyone else struggle to get their kids to actually eat breakfast, or is it just me?
My kids seem to alternate between having zero appetite, and wanting to eat everything that is not nailed down. Unfortunately breakfast time is usually when they’re not hungry. That doesn’t work out very well when they have an away game in the morning, and I end up arguing with them about actually eating something before we leave.
Add in the extra challenge of having children that are ridiculously picky, and you’re up for a struggle to get them to eat anything, let alone anything even remotely nutritional. So what’s a baseball mom to do? You want your kids to eat something healthy, but you also don’t want to have to force them to eat something that they’re probably going to waste. And whatever it is you feed them, it has to be quick.
Breakfast Smoothies have become my go-to solution for breakfast on our busiest mornings. I no longer have to bargain with my kids to eat something, especially when they just don’t want to eat and we’re in a hurry. With a smoothie, I can throw a couple ingredients into the Vitamix, blend it for 2-3 minutes, then pour it into a to-go mug and be out the door. They can sip at their leisure on the way to the ball field and arrive energized and nourished. Even my picky eaters won’t fight a fruit smoothie.
My go to breakfast smoothie formula is always Fruit + Liquid + Protein + Fat. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to sneak veggies like spinach into their breakfast smoothies, but the look of betrayal on their faces when their banana smoothie had the unmistakable green tint of ‘secret spinach’ caused me to rethink that strategy. So we keep with fruit for breakfast and get veggies in later in the day.
Here are some smoothie tips, as well as my two go-to Breakfast Smoothie recipes.
Frozen bananas give smoothies the perfect thick consistency without needing to add ice. They also add natural sweetness, plus fiber and potassium. I freeze ripe bananas by the dozen so we always have several on hand for smoothies. I start by peeling very ripe bananas (the kind with brown spots) then individually freezing them whole, wrapped in plastic wrap.
Always having a bag or two of frozen fruit on hand is key to throwing together a smoothie. Frozen berries, peaches, mango and pineapple can be bought surprisingly cheap at the supermarket or Costco.
Based on your kids’ nutritional needs, you can use anything from juice to full fat milk, almond milk to coconut milk, or plain old water in smoothies. After experimenting, my kids prefer regular Milk as the liquid base, with unsweetened vanilla almond milk a close second. For breakfast smoothies, regular milk has the added benefit of additional fat, which helps to sustain your kids for hours.
Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, contributes a decent amount of protein to a smoothie. My go-to is Chobani Greek yogurt, which comes in a convenient 5.3 oz size that is perfect for making a single serving smoothie. Depending on the flavor, the 5.3 oz size provides 12 – 14g of protein per container.
Because my kids are growing like weeds and need lots of protein, I supplement smoothies with 1 scoop of whey protein powder. I had a difficult time finding a protein powder that doesn’t taste chalky or gritty, without added fillers and sweeteners. Vegan protein powders with pea protein always seemed to upset their stomachs for some reason. After trying a couple different whey proteins, Tera’s Whey Unflavored Whey Protein Powder has become my go-to protein powder. Tera’s has a clean ingredient list, it mixes well, it’s not gritty, and adds a nice boost of protein.
A little bit of fat is an important addition to smoothies; it helps keep your kids full longer. It also prevents blood sugar spikes. Without fat, your kids might crash and burn after an hour from the natural sugar of the fruit. Not ideal when they have a double header or a full tournament schedule. For that reason, I always add almond butter, peanut butter, or another healthy fat.
The Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Smoothie uses 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter. For the Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie recipe I add 1 tablespoon of Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna (also called Coconut Butter). 1 tablespoon is just enough to add fat and a touch of sweet coconut taste, without the coconut overpowering the smoothie.
Tip: Coconut Manna needs to be at or above room temperature before adding to smoothies, otherwise it gets clumpy. If your house is over 73 degrees you can just add the manna directly to the blender. In the winter, try microwaving the entire (WITH THE LID OFF) for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave to soften it. Then stir well and measure how much you need.
So that’s it: Fruit + Liquid + Protein + Fat = Breakfast Smoothies on the Go. Here are my kids’ two favorite breakfast smoothie recipes: Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie, and the Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Smoothie.
On your busiest mornings, you need a game plan to get a nutritious breakfast into your kids. With a few simple ingredients, you can throw together an easy breakfast smoothie that even the pickiest kid will drink.
Looking for more Breakfast Smoothie ideas? Download our Breakfast Smoothie Ideas printable here.
Are your kids picky 24 hours a day, not just at breakfast? Do you struggle with getting them to agree to healthy snacks? Download and print our list of 20 Healthy Pre-Game Snack Ideas, perfect for fueling your athlete before games and practices.