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Quick, Healthy, Hearty Kids' Breakfasts

As kids head back to school this fall, it's important that they start off their days with healthy breakfasts. They keep the kids energized and, studies show, help their performance.

To help parents make the grade, Early Show contributor Katie Lee Joel shared some easy, nutrition-packed recipes Wednesday -- different, clever takes on the usual fare that involve minimal time and effort.

Backpack Bagel

The Backpacker's Bagel gives kids an excellent start to the day. The peanut butter offers substantial nutritional value that will keep them satisfied and focused through lunchtime. Combine with fruit, bread and granola, and you cover three food groups in the morning.

Homemade Breakfast Bars

Store-bought breakfast bars may seem like a good alternative to homemade breakfast, but many have high levels of sugar. Instead, try an easy, at-home version. Plus, the recipe makes enough to last a few days.

Fruity-Tootie Smoothie

Start your kids off in the morning with a refreshing smoothie. And add tofu, which is rich in protein. The kids will never know!

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

Involving kids in the kitchen is a great way to get them interested in nutrition and mindful of what they eat. Katie Lee's Baked Eggs in Ham Cups is a fun recipe that will help inspire them. Let your little ones line the muffin cups with the ham while you crack the egg. Then, bake them in the oven while you tend to rest of the morning routine.

Banana-Fana Pancakes

Before you reach for the packaged pancake mix or pre-frozen pancakes, think how easy it is to make them yourself. You can even prepare and freeze the pancake recipe over the weekend, then heat them up during the weekday morning rush.

Hawaiian French Toast Sticks with Fruit Kebabs

Make Hawaiian French Toast Sticks with a fun twist that kids will love. Coat the soaked bread in crushed whole grain cereal and cook in a skillet for a crunchy treat. Pair the dish with a side of fruit skewers.


Backpack Bagel

1 toasted wholegrain bagel
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
2 Tablespoons granola
1/2 apple, thinly sliced

Spread peanut butter evenly over both sides of bagel. Sprinkle with granola and top with apple slices.

Homemade Breakfast Bars

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a sauce pan over medium-high flame. Stir occasionally until melted. Remove from flame and pour in oats and raisins. Mix well.

Spread mixture into a greased baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into bars.


Fruity-Tootie Smoothie

1 cup skim milk
1/3 cup silken tofu, cut into chunks
3/4 cup frozen fruit (Katie Lee likes to use either a combination of berries or a combination of tropical fruits. Experiment with various fruits to suit your child's tastes)
1 Tablespoon honey, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend, pulsing the machine if necessary, until smooth, making sure the honey is dissolved. Serve immediately.

Baked Eggs in Ham "Cups"

4 slices boiled ham
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Line each muffin cup with one slice ham. Crack one egg into each and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on desired firmness of yolks. Allow to cool in pan for a couple of minutes and then remove.

Banana-Fana Pancakes

1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups reduced-fat milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 banana, thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg, milk, and canola oil. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into cottage cheese mixture. Stir until just combined.

Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle about 1/4 cup pancake mixture onto the griddle for each pancake. When bubbles start to form at the surface, top with sliced banana. Flip with a spatula and cook about 1 additional minute.

These pancakes can be frozen and reheated in the toaster.

Hawaiian French Toast Sticks with Fruit Kebabs

3/4 cup reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
8 slices whole grain bread, cut into 1 ½ inch slices
1/2 cup whole grain cereal, crushed
1 cup assorted fruit

In a medium bowl, whisk milk, eggs, pineapple juice, and maple syrup. Place bread in milk mixture and allow to soak about 30 seconds on each side. Dredge each piece of bread in the crushed cereal and coat on both sides.

Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cook bread about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Assemble fruit kebabs by threading fruit onto a bamboo skewer.

These French toast sticks can be frozen and reheated in the oven before serving.

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