By Deborah Martin

Deborah Martin has some terrific ideas and recipes for us today! Deborah earned a BS in nutrition from Meredith College and is a certified pilates instructor with certification from the Physical Mind Institute in New York City. Deborah is not a licensed dietician, so before trying any new recipe, please call your pediatrician if you have questions concerning ingredients and how your child could react to those ingredients. Deborah’s oldest child has a peanut allergy, so the following recipes are completely nut free. Enjoy! … Rachel H

If you are like me in just a few short weeks the school year will begin. As we savor this last month of summer vacation, I have already begun to think about my morning routine. No matter what the routine or how many kids you have, we all have one thing in common – we have to get people fed and out the door in a timely manner. I have three kids four and under, two of which will head to preschool. While sitting down for breakfast is the best way to start the day, I have come up with some choices that can also be transported and eaten on the way to school. My only suggestion would be to not make this a habit, but save it for those hectic mornings when things are just not going your way. While we all know the importance of breakfast in our children’s lives, getting to school can present its own challenges and it can be time when good intentions and healthy eating habits fall by the wayside. However, a nutritious, varied diet is as important as ever- sustaining and boosting energy levels, helping concentration and even assisting brain power. So we need breakfast choices that are easy to make, taste good and have proper nutrition…

Children need a healthy balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat, and what they need little of is sugar and refined flour. However, those last two ingredients make food taste good. So, I have come up with three breakfast options that not only taste good but are also nutritious.

After many test trials (my four year old is a great food critic) I have come up with a breakfast cookie recipe, yes I said cookie, two smoothie recipes (one with spinach) and a waffle recipe that is simply wonderful. Obviously, the smoothies cannot be made ahead but the other two can, and freeze well, too. So before you buy that box of pop tarts or cinnamon toast sticks give these a try, and here is hoping for a nutritious start to your child’s day.

Breakfast Cookies

These are delish, low in sugar, high in protein and have about 8.5g of fat per cookie.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
4 oz sweet potatoes puree-baby food
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oats (old fashion or instant)
1/2 cup smart start cereal or bran flakes
1/3 cup dried craisins (optional and can do rasins)
1/3 cup almonds (optional)
1/3 cup pure flax seed (optional and I tell my kids these are choc. chips)

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients and set aside. In another bowl combine butter, applesauce, and sugars. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add egg, sweet potato puree, and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture. Now add oats, cereal, craisins, and nuts. Do not over beat. Use 3-4 Tbsp of batter per cookie, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten cookie slightly. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Number of Servings: 12

Basic Smoothie

1 ripe banana (cut into chunks)
1/2 c. low fat vanilla yogurts
1 tsp. honey
1 c. crushed ice

Combine ingredients and blend until smooth

*children under 1 year of age should not consume honey*

**can add 1/2 c. strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries**

Advanced Smoothie

1 banana (cut into chunks)
1 c. grapes (any kind)
1 6 oz.. carton of vanilla yogurt
1/2 apple chopped
1 c. fresh spinach leaves chopped.

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth, stopping to push down sides.

**While you cannot taste the spinach, this smoothie does have texture to it. It is difficult to drink with a straw and is better sipped or used with a spoon. My son loves the cool green color. Easy way to get those green leafy veggies in**

Waffle Recipe (these can be frozen)

1 egg
3/4 c. milk (I use 2%)
1/3 vegetable oil
1/4 c. orange juice
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 tsp. grated orange peel (can omit for time if needed)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg, add in milk, oil and orange juice.

Combine flour, sugar, orange peel, baking powder and salt; stir into milk mixture. Fold in liquid mixture. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s direction until golden brown. Make 5 waffles…I always double and freeze.

**Can add blueberries, strawberries, flax seed, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato and yes even chocolate chips for a treat** I recommend a cup of everything but the flax seed, a 1/3 will do of that.

For those of you not allergic to nuts, you could use nut butter between two slices and make a breakfast sandwich.