The first thing you should know about me is I am not a morning person. My natural biorhythms would have me staying up until 2 or 3 am, and sleeping until 9 every morning, if not for two exasperatingly perky children who hit the ground running at sunrise, even on weekends. I am also a huge nutrition freak who strongly feels my kids need a good dose of protein and complex carbs with a reasonable glycemic index to start the day right. This is especially necessary for Reece, who has some focusing issues and needs a “brainy breakfast” as our dear pediatrician would put it, to help boost his concentration in school.
So when it comes to school day breakfasts, I am faced with dueling personas, one of whom wants to be the Rachel Ray of juvenile breakfast cuisine and the other who wants to growl like a grizzly for being interrupted during REM (the sleep, not the band…although if I’m trying to sing along to The End of the World As We Know It, you probably shouldn’t interrupt me then either, because the words are really fast and it might mess me up).
And what do my kids want? Crummy, nutritionally void, sugar-laden cereal with sugar on top and a side of sugar, please. (Which I won’t buy, btw. Mean, mean mommy.)
You can see my dilemma. I fumble my way through breakfast
preparation, the kids down a bite or two, and they’re off. I’m left standing
over a sink full of breakfast dishes and wasted food, rubbing the sleep out of
my eyes and wondering what’s worse – a fabulous, healthy breakfast that they
don’t eat, or sub-nutritional calories that at least fill their bellies and
fuel them for a little while. Some days, I’ll admit, it’s tempting to consider
pulling the covers over my head and sleeping an extra 30 minutes while they go
cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Luckily, what I lack in morning perkiness I make up for in creativity, and I’ve managed over the years to stuff a few breakfast tricks up my pajama sleeve. It occurred to me that there might be others out there who have the regrettable combination of morningitis and fickle breakfast dodgers, so I decided to share my tried and true breakfast standby, the oatmeal sundae.
All you have to do is make some oatmeal (I like the organic, steel cut stuff from Trader Joe’s). Sweeten it with a little bit of honey, or some natural maple syrup. If your kids don’t like oatmeal, try cream of wheat, quinoa, malt-o-meal, or yogurt instead.
Spoon some into cute little dishes – the packaging is important, as we scrapbookers know! C’mon, how many of those brads in adorable nail polish jars did you buy a while back?? See what I mean!
I happen to know my kids won’t eat more than a few spoonfuls, which is why I keep the serving size small and pile on the toppings so it packs a good nutrition punch. I hide a little flax meal in there, top with fruit – we like strawberry, peach, or banana slices, blueberries, raspberries…or any combo thereof. Frozen works if you don’t have fresh – just nuke to defrost and you’re good to go.
Then I toss on some crushed raw almonds (I buy them whole, chuck a handful in a Ziploc bag and bang them with a rolling pin. This step has the added benefit of venting morning grumpiness!)
Finish with a pinch of sprinkles…it will make them think it’s a treat!
Oatmeal cones - Stir flax meal, crushed almonds, & fruit into oatmeal, cool, and spoon into an ice cream cone. Top with a pinch of sprinkles. These are particularly awesome for on-the-go breakfasts (we went through a whole year of Reece having to eat breakfast in the car while driving Kendra to school). Just make sure the oatmeal is cool or the cone will turn to mush almost instantly.
Breakfast Banana Splits - Slice half a banana lengthwise, arrange a couple of small scoops of yogurt or oatmeal between the slices, and top with fruit, nuts, granola, sprinkles, etc.
Fuel them up, shoo them out the door, pat yourself on the back, and finish waking up at your own pace.