NYC Nutritionist’s Favorite Winter Breakfasts

Mary Jane Detroyer


Happy Winter Solstice!

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, so this means we’re moving toward more sun! Though the holidays are almost over, and days will start to get longer, it’ll be a long time before we’re in the clear and can dive into balmy spring days.

So that means a lot of cold mornings trying to get kids out of bed and geared up for school. It’s tempting to fill up on an instant chocolate and cram a cereal bar into our bag to get out the door. But a good breakfast – a winter warm breakfast – is a great way to fuel up. But when I looked up winter recipes for kids, I was inundated with snowman pancakes (with a bacon scarf, blueberries, and pretzels), syrupy French toast sandwiches, and towers of waffles. As much fun as these recipes are, I saw two things: questionable nutritional value (lots of sugars and fats) and too much time. Let’s be real, most homes aren’t IHOP.

But getting a good start to the day and kick-starting our brains is critical to growth as well as mental health.

Entice your kids out of bed with these quick, easy, nutritious winter breakfasts:

  • Mary Jane DetroyerPumpkin pancakes put a healthier twist on this American favorite. Make the recipe the night before and cover tightly. Put it in the fridge.  In the morning, all you need to do is heat up the pan and treat your family to an easy winter breakfast. Plus, winter squashes are packed with fiber, potassium and other essentials.
  • The morning cupcake, aka the muffin. Who are we kidding? Most muffins have just as much sugar as cake, throwing nutrition to the wind. Cut back on sugar by at least a third in fruity muffins  (you can in most recipes). Some of my favorites are pear oatmeal muffins, pumpkin bran muffins, and strawberry bran muffins.  Or consider the savory variety – cheddar zucchini, cheese and bacon. Bake ahead and freeze in Ziplock bags.  Take out in the morning, heat in the oven, and have happy stomachs.
  • Oatmeal … instant! Don’t buy the pre-prepared kinds, as they are packed with sugar and salt. Take a tablespoon of instant flakes for every ½ cup of water or milk. Add a pinch of sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon to your instant flakes. Or, try some hearty winter flavors to change up this classic. In five minutes, you have a fiber-packed punch of flavor and warm stomachs.
  • Hashbrowns! Hashbrowns with spinach, kale, bacon, topped with plain yogurt, can warm up the coldest mornings.
  • Take a twist on a winter favorite with quinoa. This cardamom and quinoa  winter breakfast porridge might even tempt the most reluctant riser.  Then play with ingredients for a protein-packed morning start.
  • Mary Jane DetroyerEggs, eggs, eggs! Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, eggs on toast. In most any way, shape, or form, the egg is one of the most perfect foods. High protein, low fat, and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, start your day with one of nature’s most powerful punches.
  • The breakfast burrito: Scrambled eggs, black beans, and a dolup of plain yogurt can get your group geared up for a great day. Cube leftover baked chicken and add arugula. Wrap in a breakfast crepe or tortilla, this is quick to make and delicious, breakfast burritos are a high fiber, high protein, low sugar option to warm up tummies.

We’ve got a good three months left until those frozen berry smoothies will sound good. And we’ve got a lot of mornings of grumbling and kids hiding under the covers. With these quick, easy, nutritional winter breakfasts, you might just avoid the morning grumps.

You might.