HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


packing a breakfast

Where we live, it is expected that kids will eat school lunch--no one brings theirs, which I'm happy to go along with. There is, however, a challenge for me in providing a "breakfast" for mid-morning break every day.
The German kids bring typical German breakfast foods--bread or "Broetchen" (rolls) are the centerpiece, with butter (kid won't eat it) or some kind of dressing (ditto) on it, and cheese (that either--sigh) or meat on it. I'm a vegetarian but have started getting a couple of slices of "salami" (lunch meat)to put on his bread but the butchers all say I shouldn't keep it more than a day or two. The Broetchen also have to be purchased that often or they go stale. So it's a drag; constant shopping, and the kiddo needs to eat.
I often send fruit and he usually eats it, but I'd like to send other things too--he's a hungry little guy.
Sending plain bread worries his teacher that he's starving (yes, he is smarter than a dog, but he might just nibble, and then be hungry before lunch).
At home for breakfast, he likes scrambled eggs, toast with cinnamon sugar, pancakes, oatmeal with molasses. He does not like yogurt (We've never had it tested, but he may be lactose intolerant).
I mentioned spanikopita as an option and he was enthusiastic, but I'm not making it every day.
I don't know if they have poptart type things here, but I'd rather stay at a more whole foods end of things any way.

SO, I'm looking for suggestions for healthy, easy to pack brunch food that is tasty for a 1st-grader.
Any advice?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Some sort of granola/trail mix? You could put in the nuts and dried fruit that he likes -- sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cherries, blueberries, whatever. Then whatever other add-ins he likes -- dried banana chips, coconut, even a few chocolate chips.

    The cinnamon toast seems like it would travel well as a sandwich.

    Muffins or slices of quick bread with cream cheese spread. Blueberry, pumpkin, zucchini. Muffins can be wrapped and frozen, quick bread frozen in individual slices, so they can be used next week or so. I've seen recipes for cornbread or corn muffins with carmelized onions and cheese.

    Even raisin-oatmeal cookies can be pumped up with chopped fresh fruit (apples, pears), wheat germ and/or nuts to make them more of a breakfast cookie.

    1. I was going to say nuts too, or a healthy cereal that is bite size (for a snack, I've been bringing those frosted shredded wheat by Fiber One or the caramel squares).

      Or make up a big batch of small pancakes to freeze, fold in half with jam or peanut butter (like a soft taco).

        1. what about cheese and crackers or peanut butter and cfrakers? lillte room temp frittas?

          1. Hard-boiled egg? Yogurt mixed with fresh or dried fruit and/or granola? Something with protein will tide him over until lunch better than just fruit will. By the way, what is your school lunch program in Germany like? American programs vary a great deal but tend to make a lot of use of inexpensive starches.

            1. My kids like to take granola bars. There are some decent store-bought options, or if you're up to it you can make homemade. Here's a pretty good recipe:


              1. PBJ
                PB and Nuetella
                Apple Slices
                cold mac n cheese
                My kids like Z Bars
                graham crackers

                What do you give him on the weekends?

                I go to Whole foods an I have them slice specific amounts of each item. I purchase 4 oz increments of hame, turkey, turkey salami, framani anything.....

                If it is for a snack, have the butcher or deli folks folks give you 2oz/ 1/8lb increments of your product.

                1. Fritta or Tortilla (in Spain they do make torilla sandwiches), Granola/power bars (there's an Alton brown receipe on the Food Network) Cearal or crackers. Nutella sandwiches, or don't worry that it's called breakfast and widen your options. A grain like wheat or quiona salad with nuts with have a lot of protein.

                  1. If he likes scrambled eggs, why not egg salad sandwich? Is your mayo pasteurized? If so, no problem if not refrigerated til break time - probably not anyway.

                    1. - granola bars (Ina Garten made delicious ones on her show last week)
                      - mini spinach tarts (can be frozen)
                      - tuna or egg salad sandwich
                      - veggies and hummus or babaganoush
                      - slice of banana bread or pumpkin bread
                      - baked oatmeal
                      - small container of spaghetti with tomato or pesto sauce
                      - mini pizzas with cheese or veggies (can be frozen)
                      - small piece of cornbread
                      - apples with peanut butter
                      - celery/carrots with nutella

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        Wow, I wish you'd make my lunch - and I'M retired. Really great ideas.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Thanks :) Friends of mine went to an elementary school where you couldn't bring your own lunch, but you could bring a snack to eat midmorning. Everyone hated the school lunch, so their "snacks" were like 3 course meals. Lots of ideas from friends who send their kids to school there...

                        2. re: cheesecake17

                          Cheesecake, we looked at posts before you added this, but I see several things I think he'll like. What is baked oatmeal/how do you make it?

                          1. re: saacnmama


                            Here's the basic recipe I used. It's kind of like a dense oatmeal type muffiny item- hard to describe but really delicious. My husband loves it for breakfast, says it's really filling and sweet without being dessert-y.

                            You can bake it in little ramekins or in a larger baking dish and cut into squares. Just adjust the baking time accordingly.

                            Some changes I made-
                            - I whisk all the liquidy ingredients together then add the dry stuff. Much quicker than making two mixtures and combining them in each custard cup.
                            - sub different dried fruits/spice combos. I like cinnamon and raisins. Also, fresh chopped apples and walnuts are good.

                        3. Thanks, everybody, for the ideas! Of them, here's what my boy says sounds best:
                          cin toast
                          oatmeal cookies
                          scrambled egg sandwich
                          maybe hummous
                          We'll try the granola bar recipe this weekend
                          He does eat breakfast at home before going in, so it seems to me that more brunch-ish/lunch like things could work too.
                          Greygar, the menu this week includes egg-vegetable ragout with red cabbage salad and pudding or alternately chichen drumsticks, cooked carrots, potatoes, pudding. Tues was calf-veggie-ragout, mashed potatoes, yogurt or Chicken fricassee with asparagus, rice, yogurt. Today it's "snail noodles" cheese-cream sauce, carrot salad with apple, fruit or little star noodle soup, griessbrei with warm cherry compote, fruit

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: saacnmama

                            i'll add a few more ideas :)

                            pita bread stuffed with some tuna or cheese and tomatoes
                            leftover polenta sliced with some marinara sauce to dip it in
                            mini bagel pizza
                            little mini quiches or frittatas baked in mini-muffin cups

                          2. I spent part of my childhood living abroad so will speak from that perspective since it sounds as if you are an American living outside the US. 1) What is your freezer space like? If you son likes spanakopita you can make it once, wrap and freeze individual portions, and be done for a while. 2) What is your refrigerator space like? Deli ham or roast beef should last longer than two days (eg the salami) and makes a substantial sandwich. 3) "Constant shopping" may be the way it's done where you are---try to get into the fun of it. Study the local stores for new ideas and tasty products that may be unfamiliar to you. You will find that you strike a compromise between familiar American foods and new (whatever country) foods. Also, children are more adventurous about this than adults---they will take in the new country as part of their normal growth and be happy to eat what their fellows are eating. I remember in Argentina my mother threw a fit when she found out that my brother and I were buying empanadas and churros on the street when our classmates did---she was sure the food wasn't safe to eat (it was). It is often harder for a grownup to live in a foreign country than it is for children.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Querencia

                              I moved to another country (Netherlands) in grade 2 and was horribly embarrassed that my Mom insisted on sending "American" things to school for lunch, eg tuna, hard boiled eggs, even brownies. All I wanted were the buns or brown bread with thin slices of cheese OR ham or small dabs of peanut butter on them! Butter, not mayo! This is not the kind of thing I would eat now, but central to social acceptance in those days. Crazy, eh? Thanks for bringing back those memories.

                              Having said that, I now send my Canadian kids to school with things like chocolate zucchini bread or pumpkin bread.

                            2. Slice of Bread folded in half/half a sadwich with nutella or cream cheese and jelly. When I was in Spain, peanut butter was hard to find. My kids love nutella.