Breakfast Basics: A Cereal-Free Approach


I’m in love with healthy breakfast food. Eggs, avocado, home fries, prosciutto…you name it, I love it!

However, just last year, I wasn’t enjoying any of these delicious and nutritious foods for breakfast. I ate lots of cereal, small fruit smoothies, a handful of gluten-free crackers, and sometimes it was no breakfast at all. After doing a Whole30, I learned that a good breakfast is healthy and satisfying. It’s your first real meal and sets the tone for your food choices throughout the day.Breakfast Bridge graphic

This summer, I decided to incorporate some of my new-found healthy food philosophies into my children’s meals. My target: the cereal box.


With two toddlers known for being emotional wrecks most mornings, my go-to breakfast has always been Cheerios with milk. Easy and guaranteed not to cause tantrums. Cereal is EASY, so easy. But, it’s also highly processed and not filling for more than an hour. I’m not judging you if that’s what you feed your kids–I have a box of it in my pantry for those mornings when I just can’t adult. Plus, yay for feeding your children! 

The first step in de-cerealizing my breakfast was to NOT announce this new change, as to avoid total anarchy. Instead, I “forgot” to buy cereal at the store and casually proposed the choices of eggs or oatmeal. As I shivered in suspense, I was happy to hear “eggs please!” Whew.

We have been cereal-free for almost a month now.

It was hard for me at first because I actually have to think about and cook for everyone, not just myself–it’s not as simple as throwing some bowls and spoons on high chairs. However, we all get to eat breakfast together, whereas before I was just whipping up my own breakfast as they started on their Cheerios.

As with most other meals, I found it to be another challenge to find a variety of recipes both toddler- and adult-approved. A quick Pinterest search gave me a ton of great new ideas, so here is a round-up of some that have worked for us:

  1. Banana pancakes – Combine 1 banana, one egg, a few tablespoons of nut butter, and a dash of cinnamon. Cook in butter. Easiest way to be the best mom in the world for serving pancakes on a Tuesday.
  2. Paleo muffins – I’ve posted this recipe all over the place because it’s so easy and so tasty.
  3. Oatmeal – I just discovered quick-cooking oats and they changed my life. They cook in under five minutes; it’s a daily miracle. Instead of topping with sugar, sprinkle it with applesauce and raisins–healthier and still sweet. Overnight oats are also very popular and a great idea for those early mornings. Also, these if you’re craving creative comfort food.
  4. Homemade granola – perfect on its own or on top of yogurt.
  5. Egg muffins –  adorable, delicious, and no silverware required. Easily swap in bacon and even Daddy will enjoy them!

What non-cereal foods do you and your family enjoy for breakfast? Share some healthy breakfast recipes below!

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Hello, I’m Amanda! I’m a Certified Whole30 coach, part-time librarian, blogger, and full-time SAHM to three adorable boys, and a die-hard Jersey girl at heart. We are recent transplants to the Seacoast after living in Boston for four years while I earned my MFA in Poetry. My husband Patrick and I married on a snowy October day four years ago and it was a perfect prelude to our chaotic, yet beautiful life. We have moved four times since that day and are very happy to settle down in the seacoast and raise our family. I love talking about my faith, drinking strong black coffee (or strong white wine), and beekeeping.


  1. Loved this! My daughter is not allowed to eat cereal on school days. I make GF pancakes with purée spinach! They have no clue! Great tips!

  2. Adding variety to a kids diet is great and it sounds like you found some good options that kept your kids happy and well fed so that’s awesome. But have to disagree with some of the dietary advice here. A low sugar, whole grain cereal with milk (like Cheerios for example) is pretty universally regarded as by nutritionists as healthy choice for kids, but I think programs like whole 30 get more mixed reviews….

    • Kathleen – yes, variety is key!

      I agree, Cheerios has long been recommended as a first food for babies – it was for my boys! And yes, the Whole30 and the Paleo lifestyle have mixed reviews, so I can only say that I’ve seen many benefits of it for my family. My biggest take away from it was the power to be a more informed consumer. My hope is that we can all approach our food in a more knowledgeable way so we can make the best decisions for ourselves and our families! Happy Breakfast-ing!

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