This year my family is facing a new reality.  Solomon and Celia will be in middle school and high school, and mornings as we’ve known them will vanish.  In Montgomery County, Maryland, where we live, as in many other school districts, middle and high school kids begin their day much earlier than their elementary school mates.  The irony is that the earlier school schedule kicks in just as the natural body clock of these formerly early risers starts to shift to a later schedule.

One big worry about the loss of morning hours is finding time for a healthy breakfast.  School busses screech up to our corner before 7:00, which leaves little time for a leisurely bowl of cereal over the sports pages or comics.

When thinking about filling breakfasts for our active kids, I look for foods with protein and whole grains to keep them full until lunch, and without too much sugar or artificial colors, which can slow them down.  We don’t rule out traditional lunch and dinner foods, such cold pizza or quesadillas, or even healthy varieties of protein bars and muffins in a pinch.

Below are some breakfast ideas that can fuel our growing (and groggy) children during those hectic mornings on the go:

•    A sandwich of rice cakes (or a whole wheat bagel or tortilla) with a thick layer of peanut butter, and all-fruit jelly or sliced bananas in the middle.

•    A bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, or a whole grain English muffin with melted Cheddar cheese (add a slice of tomato or avocado for the more sophisticated teenage palate.)

•    Hard-boiled eggs alone, or diced and mixed with cubed and buttered toast or cheese.

•    Egg sandwiches, such as these On the Go Egg Muffin Sandwiches.

•    Healthy homemade muffins, such as these Blueberry Raspberry Oatmeal Muffins. (Muffins can be baked in advance and stored in the freezer to keep them tasting fresh.)

•    Yogurt with dry cereal or granola, and/or fruit, or even instant oatmeal mixed in.

•    Bags of homemade trail mix with nuts, raisins (or other dried fruit), sunflower seeds, whole grain cereal or popcorn, and even semi-sweet chocolate chips.

•    Breakfast smoothies: Store the unblended smoothie (made with yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, and juice, or peanut butter, banana, milk and chocolate syrup) in the refrigerator overnight, and blend it in the morning.

Once you know your child is fortified with a nutritious breakfast, you can breathe a sigh of relief as the school bus pulls away, knowing that though your nest is emptier, your child’s stomach is fuller…just do yourself a favor and don’t look at their room!

What are your kids’ favorite quick and healthy breakfasts for busy school days?

Recipe: Quick and Healthy Breakfast Smoothies

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Total Time: 10 min(s)
  • Servings: 4

Quick and easy fruit smoothies.


    • 1 1/4 cups orange juice
    • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
    • 2 cups mango chunks, fresh or frozen
    • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
    • 1 banana


    • In a blender combine the orange juice, yogurt, mango chunks, blueberries and banana. Blend until smooth

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7 Responses to “Quick and Healthy Breakfast Smoothies”

  1. Sara S

    I usually add whey protein powder to my kids’ smoothies in the morning. What’s your view on that?

  2. Aviva Goldfarb Aviva Goldfarb

    Hi Sara, I’d love to know what your reasoning is for adding whey protein to their smoothies. I’ll ask some of my RD pals for their thinking on it.

  3. alice

    I also like to add whey protein to my kids’ smoothie because I sometimes make the smoothie as a “meal” on the go for breakfast. The added protein keeps them full until lunch.

  4. Diana

    One of my grandmother’s best tricks ever- a recipe for buttermilk bran muffins that she would make up in a huge quanitity – like, half a gallon – and keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. !! In the morning you just scoop out some muffin dough into a muffin pan, and you have these delicious fresh muffins in the time it takes to preheat and cook (about 25 minutes). You can make as few or as many as you need. I will try to post the recipe.

  5. Diana

    Buttermilk Bran Muffins
    15-oz box raisin bran, 3 c sugar,
    3 c white flour, 2 c whole-wheat flour,
    5 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp salt
    1 quart buttermilk, 4 beaten eggs,
    1 c vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla
    Mix cereal, sugar, flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix beaten eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk, and add to dry ingredients.
    Store covered in refrigerator – batter will keep for up to 6 weeks. To bake, fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 for 17 minutes.

  6. Aviva Goldfarb Aviva Goldfarb

    Thank you so much for sharing that recipe, Diana–these look like an incredible breakfast solution!

  7. Jessica

    We always have quick b-fasts… a few of our faves… a green smoothie & slab of zucchini bread (sometimes w/ berries in it, sometimes w/ nuts); juice & homemade (no sugar) yogurt w/ honey and/or fruit; milk & a homemade (frozen) waffle – toasted w/ nutella; peanut butter toast w/ a yogurt smoothie, etc…