Whether your kids are curious toddlers or active preteens, the best way to start the day is a nutritious breakfast. But let’s be honest; when everyone is hustling and bustling to start the day on time, convenience matters, too!
To help you find the right balance of convenience for parents and well-balanced nutrition for kids, we’re comparing five easy breakfast ideas for kids of all ages. Each of these morning meals can be ready to serve in minutes—but only Nurture Life’s breakfasts include a full serving of vegetables for your kids’ most important meal of the day.
Let’s check out how these six meals stack up, nutrient by nutrient.
What to like: Eggos are undeniably convenient, as these pre-made meals can be popped in the toaster and ready to eat in minutes. You can even wrap them in a napkin and eat them on the go if you’re in a rush to get out the door with an easy school-day breakfast. Offering 20% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for both calcium and iron, these waffles do serve up some essential minerals for your kids’ growth and development.
What to consider: While Eggo waffles are relatively low in the “bad” stuff like sugar and fat, they’re also low in many nutrients (such as protein) that your kids need to feel energized, alert and well throughout the day. One serving size has 4 grams of sugar, which isn’t too bad for a frozen meal—until you consider all the extra sugar added by traditional waffle toppings like maple syrup, jam and chocolate spread.
Check out just how much added sugar (33 grams!) comes from your typical generic-brand syrup below. Notice also that one serving of syrup has more calories than the Eggo waffles themselves with no minerals, vitamins, or other nutritional benefits to speak of.
If kids establish a regular habit of this much sugar in the mornings, they’ll be primed for a sweet tooth battle for many years to come. Lower-calorie syrups that rely on sugar substitutes may not be much better, either.
What to like: The name Eggos certainly has a ring to it, but their waffles can’t compare to our freshly made Egg Bite with Mini Pancakes! This meal serves up the same fun thanks to the kid-friendly mini pancakes, and it can also be ready to serve in minutes. However, it offers far more in terms of balanced nutrition—including 3 times the protein and over 6 times the dietary fiber of Eggos!
The cheesy egg bite is also a kid favorite, and it’s boosted by a medley of sweet potatoes for a full serving of morning veggies. Our sweet potatoes are deeply roasted in a light maple glaze to achieve that classic breakfast flavor with much less sugar.
What to consider: This meal has been thoughtfully balanced in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Your little one will start their day energized and will stay fuller longer than they would with the simple carbohydrates of sweetened syrup and processed waffles. The mini pancakes taste delicious all by themselves, or consider serving them with some freshly cut fruit or unsweetened coconut shavings.
What to like: In terms of nutritional content, Honey Nut Cheerios share a lot in common with Eggos; they’re also low in fat and relatively low in sugar—though at 12 grams, there’s much more added sugar than ideal, especially when the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is for kids to have less than 25 g added sugar per day. Unlike Eggos, Cheerios do contain some dietary fiber (3 grams), which helps support regular digestion and keeps your kids feeling full.
Serving Cheerios with 2% milk definitely improves the nutrition by adding a punch of protein and calcium to support healthy muscle and bone development.
What to consider: Like Eggos, Honey Nut Cheerios aren’t necessarily a terrible choice among all the ready-to-serve or pre-made meals out there—but they do have little to offer in the way of healthy, balanced nutrition. Although both meals for kids are fairly low in fat and sugar, they’re also low in many of the nutrients your kids need to power their day. A cup of milk helps, but the cereal itself doesn’t shine.
What to like: Given the reputation of McDonald’s and other fast food meals for kids, the Egg McMuffin may seem not so bad—and it’s certainly not the very worst option on their menu. This breakfast sandwich is high in protein and relatively low in fat, and it serves up a fair amount of minerals like calcium and iron. Adequate daily protein is especially critical for growing kids, as this essential macronutrient powers muscle development, hormone transport and more.
What to consider: If your #1 priority is super-easy meals for kids, there’s no doubting the McDonald’s drive thru. But ease—not nutrition—is definitely where McDonald’s leads the way. Besides the high protein content, there’s little to love in the Egg McMuffin (or any of their other breakfast options, for that matter!).
With more than 760 milligrams of sodium, this small sandwich has roughly half of a child’s recommended Daily Value for sodium. If you order the Egg McMuffin Meal, you’ll add another 310 milligrams of sodium from the deep-fried hash browns.
What to like: Compared to other breakfast-on-the-go options like fast food, Nature Valley’s granola bars tend to be lower in calories and fat. These bars are sweetened but still relatively low in sugar, especially compared to some other pre-packaged breakfast items commonly marketed to kids—which tend to be filled with chocolate, marshmallows or excessively sweetened dried fruit.
What to consider: Similar to Cheerios, these granola bars aren’t terrible but aren’t great, either. They only have 3 grams of protein per serving and lack important nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin D. All 11 grams of sugar are added during processing, and the low protein won’t keep your kids feeling energized or full for very long. It’s also important to keep in mind that lower-calorie does not always mean “healthier,” especially for active and growing kids.
While the comparison above is a great starting point, remember that you don’t have to serve the perfect breakfast for kids every single day! Use the comparison above to be mindful about your family’s morning habits, but don’t feel guilty about running through the drive thru or serving a quick bowl of kids’ cereal when you need to. No matter what’s on the table, you can always make quick-and-easy nutritional improvements by serving a side of fresh fruit, unsweetened nuts or Greek yogurt. And you can keep a few Nurture Life breakfasts and other meals on hand when you’re in a hurry and want something equally quick and healthy.
If you have any questions about our freshly made, nutrient-dense meals for kids and adults of all ages, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.