Breakfast is arguably the most difficult meal to provide for young children. Â Parents are still groggy from the sudden awakening that so often begins a day with toddlers and the kids are extremely hungry. Â These factors combine to make breakfast the most boring meal of the day as well since we tend to fall back on the same old staples day after day. Â It is hard to beat a bowl of cheerios for a quick, healthy, child pleasing breakfast, but if you want something different that the whole family will enjoy I have a new suggestion: Â Breakfast Couscous. Â My sister made a recipe for breakfast couscous fromÂ Cooking Light magazine for our kids one morning and my daughter gobbled it up! Â This is a great alternative to oatmeal on a cold, wintry morning and even kids who don’t like the texture of oatmeal may like couscous. Â I’m not a big fan of oatmeal myself, mostly because of the heavy, sometimes gloppy texture, but couscous has a lighter, drier texture that I really enjoy. Â Couscous also cooks very quickly, almost as fast as instant oatmeal, making it a great choice for feeding extra-hungry kids in the morning. Â Please, try out the recipe below and let me know if your kids enjoy it as much as ours do!
I use whole-wheat couscous in this recipe because it provides extra fiber and nutrients but you can substitute regular couscous if you prefer. Â Also, you can substitute any dried fruits for the dry berries. Â Make sure to chop the nuts very finely for young children and, if you have children under the age of 2, you may want to leave out the walnuts entirely. Â To make this recipe even faster, mix a double batch of the dry ingredients together beforehand and keep in an airtight container. Â Then you just have to heat some milk in the morning and stir in some of the couscous mixture!
Makes 3 servings (2/3 cup each)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous (not pearl couscous which has larger grains and takes longer to cook)
1/4 cup dried mixed berries, raisins, or other dried fruit
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Â Heat the milk in a small saucepan until boiling. Â Meanwhile, stir together the dry ingredients (couscous through cinnamon) in a small mixing bowl.
2. Â Once the milk is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous mixture until well combined; stir in the vanilla extract. Â Cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender and mixture has thickened. Â Serve warm.
Other Ideas for Quick Healthy Kid Breakfasts:
– Frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas
– Piece of whole-wheat toast or whole-wheat bagel thin topped with scrambled eggs and melted cheese and served with sliced fruit
– Yogurt sprinkled with blueberries and granola
– Bran muffin with warm cinnamon applesauce
– Whole-wheat tortilla spread with low-fat refried beans, salsa, and sprinkled with a scrambled egg and cheese then warmed in a toaster oven or microwave until cheese is melted
– Smoothie made with yogurt, milk and frozen berries and/or banana all whirled together in the blender