Learning in the kitchen starts with breakfast

Sometimes making breakfast is the last thing you want to do, but families can teach children to make toast with many toppers nutritionists urge.

Good toast begins with a nutritious bread, like 100 percent whole wheat or multigrain bread already sliced for safety. They have about 50 calories and 4 grams of protein. Some of the following suggestions have ingredients that can be set aside in the refrigerator the night before. Some can be used in school lunches.

Toast Toppers

Nut butters like almond butter with only nuts and no sugar have many possibilities with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon or granola. A new possibility that has been a favorite in Europe for years is nut-free semi-healthy chocolate spread with bananas, mashed strawberries, or pear slices. Cream cheese is a good base with sliced or mashed strawberries or no sugar jam. Children can also sprinkle dried cranberries, cherries and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Some children may like mashed small-curd cottage cheese. Apple sauce with no sugar and a little cinnamon is another good way to start the day.

Putting eggs on top of whole-wheat toast adds nutrition whether eggs are hard boiled, scrambled or cooked both sides with the yolk broken, avoiding runny eggs. Topping with melted shredded cheese is a hit.

Some children are learning to like hummus, mashed black beans with a little salt and pepper and a teaspoon of spaghetti sauce, melted shredded cheese, or shredded carrots.

Try a few ideas when there is more time on weekends to give kids practice. The above recipes are good to do with budding teenage cooks and grandparents.

Easy Chia Jam

Children can make this strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, or plum jam in 20 minutes with chia seeds. The Aztec seeds have omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. No pectin or huge amounts of sugar are needed.

Children will need two cups chopped fresh or thawed frozen fruit, one tablespoon lemon juice, one tablespoon honey or maple syrup, and two tablespoons chia seeds. They can be ground in a coffee grinder and will still work. Dark fruits are preferred.

Remove fruit stems, etc. and chop into small pieces, if needed. Cook on medium-low heat in saucepan until fruit starts to break down — about 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix. Stir in honey and lemon juice. Adjust to taste. Stir in chia seeds and let stand for five minutes. If too runny, add a few more seeds. Jam will continue to thicken somewhat while in the refrigerator. Transfer to a glass jar and keep refrigerated. It is good in the refrigerator for two weeks and can be frozen for three months. Children can also skip the cooking, if desired.

For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; Facebook and ­Pinterest.

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Grandparents Teach, Too is written by a group of teachers and former teachers who contribute ideas and resources to help educate children and grandchildren. For more GTT articles and resources, visit them online at http://grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com.

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