Ten Easy and Healthy Before-School Meals

The first meal of the day for kids is the most important meal of the day, but it is hard to whip together a nutritious breakfast for your kids when they are running out the door to catch the bus or drive to school. So you resort to just cereal, a granola bar, something from the drive-through or nothing at all.

But making a nutritious breakfast that will jump-start your child's day and send him or her out the door feeling full, energized and ready for a day at school is not as hard as it seems. Sometimes the most simple meals are the best ones. Here are ten easy and nutritious breakfast recipes you can make the night before or the next morning for your kids. They are full of flavor, simple to make and better than anything you'll get from a drive-through.

10. Cinnamon Toast

Making this sweet toast is so simple and uses only three or four ingredients. Toast two slices of whole wheat bread, then once the bread is hot and toasted, spread each slice with about two teaspoons of butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar (or Splenda) on top. Add a few raisins to the bread, or slices of banana to incorporate a healthy fruit. Your kids can easily eat this on the go or quickly at the kitchen table. Serve with a glass of milk for extra nutrients.

9. Fruit Smoothies

If you have the time to chop and slice fruit, by all means do that, but if you're rushing in the morning, there are several prepackaged smoothie options that only require adding orange juice, apple juice or milk to mix in a blender. Jamba Juice, Yoplait and Dole all sell frozen fruit for smoothies. Dole also has smoothie shakers, where all you have to do is add the juice to the fill line and shake the bottle until the frozen fruit and yogurt pieces break apart to create a smoothie -- no blender needed. If your kid eats his or her breakfast on the go, this is a perfect morning option.

8. Breakfast Cookies

Make these the night before for a super-easy on-the-go breakfast that's packed with nutrients. Use oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds to make a high-energy breakfast cookie. Send your kid to school with a thermos of cold milk or a small milk carton to make a complete and healthy morning meal.

7. Scrambled Eggs in a Mug

Use Egg Beaters to quickly make scrambled eggs in a coffee mug rather than wasting time cracking eggs and cooking them over the stove. Simply spray the inside of a coffee mug with cooking spray, pour about half a cup or three quarters of a cup into the mug, and microwave for a minute and a half. Sprinkle some cheese, diced tomato, chopped veggies or cooked sausage, or leave it as it is and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper just before serving.

6. French Toast in a Mug

Brooke Viggiano showed us how to make this sweet breakfast dish in the microwave. Coat the inside of a large mug with either cooking spray or butter, then place cubes of one or two slices of bread into the mug and cover with a mixture of a beaten egg, three tablespoons of milk, a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Microwave the French toast for about a minute, or until the egg is completely cooked. Drizzle with maple syrup or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Everyone needs a sweet breakfast treat every once in a while, so make your kids' day even brighter by serving them their own personal French toast in a mug.

5. Fruit and Cereal Parfait

One of the biggest problems with store-bought parfaits is the high amounts of sugar, carbs, fat and calories; it's not necessary. Replace the sugary yogurt with low-fat, plain Greek yogurt; add slices of fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, peaches or plums; then use dry cereal like Special K, Cheerios or Kix instead of granola. If the parfait needs a little more sweetness, opt for a light drizzle of honey; it's much better than the high-fructose corn syrup used in most commercial parfaits. Make these the night before or the morning of, if you have time.

4. Muffins or Bread

Any type of muffin or bread is a perfect on-the-go breakfast that you can serve your kid throughout the week. Try a low-sugar banana bread that's topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter and more banana slices. It will definitely provide the energy your kid needs to be productive throughout the morning. Other muffins and breads you can make include apple-cinnamon muffins, pumpkin bread or muffins, and blueberry muffins or bread.

3. Breakfast Burritos

Make scrambled eggs from Egg Beaters, then place into the middle of one or two medium tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, crumbled sausage, chopped veggies or even avocado for a healthy and easy-to-eat breakfast. These breakfast burritos can be eaten at home or on the way to school. Simply wrap them in foil to keep them hot.

2. Fruit and Cinnamon Oatmeal

Easily make your own flavored oatmeal without all the added sugars from the prepackaged ones. Place half a cup of dry plain oatmeal in a bowl; stir in blueberries, slices of strawberries, peaches, plums, raisins and some chopped almonds or walnuts; then sprinkle cinnamon on top. Add water and bake the oatmeal for approximately a minute and a half, then add a splash or milk (if needed) and a sprinkling of a sugar substitute or a small amount of granulated sugar. This warm, hearty breakfast will definitely kick-start your child's day. It's also perfect throughout the fall when the weather starts to get a bit colder.

1. Breakfast Sandwich

It's so easy to drive through a fast-food restaurant and grab a breakfast sandwich, but it's just as easy to make them at home. Put together breakfast sandwiches the night before so all you have to do is reheat them in the morning. Simply place eggs in a muffin tin to bake perfect circular eggs that will fit on a sandwich, then stack the egg, a slice of cheese (any flavor) and either Canadian bacon, ham or a sausage patty on top of one slice of a toasted English muffin, then seal the sandwich with the other toasted slice. Wrap these sandwiches in aluminum foil once they cool and stick them in the refrigerator overnight. Heat them in the microwave or the oven so your child has a hot breakfast sandwich in the morning.

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