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Healthy holiday kid friendly breakfasts

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Christmas is past and another week of vacation lies ahead for most children. While gifts and family outing, time playing with grandparents, cousins and friends fill the days, parents want to get kids off to a healthy start every morning. Although it is tempting to grab a quick bite and rush out the door, or visit a local breakfast drive through line, many fast food offerings are high in fat, calories and added salt. Breakfast cereals and pastries are high in sugar and additives that no child needs in a healthy diet.

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Planning a healthy family breakfast for some of the vacation days is fun, kid friendly, and provides many teachable moments. Kids can learn cooking, nutrition, organization and planning, and even practice manners and conversation skills.Here are a few breakfast recipes with some healthy choices to start off a holiday or any day with a happy heart.

1. Snowman pancakes. Kids love mini pancakes, and they’re easy. Kids can help design them, too. Make up your favorite batter (add whole wheat flour for health). You can even mix it the night before and store in the refrigerator. Pour three sizes of batter for head, torso and base of the snowman. Keep them small so they will fit on a plate. When done, form the snowman on the plate. Kids can add raisins or blueberries for eyes and buttons, and for the hat a couple red or one large blackberry, or even a chunk of pineapple or melon. Drizzle a little honey or even a dab of chocolate syrup for the nose, arms and mouth. Instead of whipped cream, use yogurt or cottage cheese for the snow. Add a slice of turkey bacon for a scarf.

2. Elf. One larger pancake for the head, and one smaller one cut in half for the ears. Form the hat from grapes, berries, raisins or a combination for dots and stripes. A strawberry mouth, berry or raisin eyes, and yogurt trim complete the elf.

3. Gingerbread man. One medium pancake for the body, and a smaller one makes the head. Oval or small round pancakes make arms and legs. Decorate as above with fruit. A strawberry smile, raspberry scarf, yogurt trim and bacon pathway finish the man.

4. Reindeer. One larger oval for the head, two smaller ovals for the ears. Use turkey bacon for the antlers. Decorate Rudolph with a strawberry or raspberry nose, and hard cooked egg or banana slice or dab of yogurt with berry eyes.

5. Tree. French toast gives kids some protein with the egg component. For younger kids, use one piece of bread quartered for each tree. For older kids, 3 or 4 halves will meet the needs. Overlap the triangles slightly. Add one or two turkey sausage links or bacon rashers for the trunk. Decorate the tree with yogurt snow and berries.

6. Santa. He can still be a breakfast feature, even after Christmas Day. Cook one larger pancake for the head, and a smaller one cut in half if you want ears. Banana and berry eyes, strawberry or raspberry hat and nose, and yogurt or cottage cheese beard and tassel and trim make a yummy treat.

Use your imagination for more holiday ideas, or just allow the kids to create their own free form winter design with a variety of fruit and healthy choices. Substituting fruit and yogurt for chocolate chips and whipped topping cuts calories and gives kids a serving or two of healthy nutrition.

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