If there's one thing we love more than breakfast foods at Lively Therapy Services, it is finding new alternatives for our favorite staple dishes and experimenting with combinations to challenge routine foods. Oral motor function, sensory, and gross motor skills are topics of focus for clients with a particularly difficult time with mouth movement and posture as it aids in digestion. All of our therapists are skilled feeding therapists who often enjoy sharing snack time with their client as a demonstration of what is expected. With the new school year starting, we wanted to give you some easy, cheap, and fast alternatives to a bowl of cereal or a granola bar every day during the week for breakfast. Though we are no strangers to interventions, when necessary (aka, a cereal bar is better than nothing), we also value having that time to enjoy a meal to start your day off right. By looking at the components of a good breakfast, we'll break down some additional options for you to integrate into your family's diets!
Primary: Peanut Butter. Peanut Butter is a traditional pantry must-have! Good for breakfast, snacks, and a quick protein-filled lunch, it comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. Crunchy vs. smooth, room temperature vs. cold, the possibilities are endless! This is great on a bagel or English muffin with a little honey on it. Alternatives: Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, or Sunflower Butter. For nut allergies, stay away from Almond Butter and Cashew Butter just as much as you do Peanut Butter. Without a nut allergy, these are all wonderful "don't knock it 'til you try it" alternatives. Add a dollop of your favorite butter into a smoothie, with bananas, on a whole-wheat bread, smeared on celery for a nutritional afternoon snack (hint: add raisins to the top and you've got ants on a log!) and go about your day having tried a new food. These are an easy introduction in the clinic because often times alternative butters are far sweeter than your average peanut butter and we've got some kids with a MASSIVE sweet tooth!
Primary: Cereal. A true breakfast classic. Take a stroll through any breakfast aisle in the grocery store and you will be met with infinite options of cereal. Mixed in with the likes of Fruity Pebbles, Apple Jacks, and Reece's Puffs you will find basic (potentially healthier) options like plain Cheerios, Special K cereal, and granola/oat-based cereals. We do love Froot Loops in moderation, but it is important to remember that if you can't pronounce most of the ingredients, it likely isn't the healthiest thing to feed your body with. Alternatives: Oatmeal, Toast with Jelly, English Muffins. Yes, there are such a thing as healthy carbs! And we love them! Oatmeal is a fan favorite in the office because it's quick, can be spiced up with cinnamon or fresh fruit, and is a good kick start to the day. Attempt to lean towards whole wheats when searching for something a little more filling in the morning.
Primary: Bacon/Sausage. A big breakfast isn't complete without a meat. As more dietary preferences and restrictions are discussed, the need to have a greasy or fatty meat is an option but isn't the only choice if you want a larger food with substance in the morning. Alternatives: Turkey Sausage, Turkey Bacon, Plant Based Bacon. Be aware that most plant-based alternatives have a soy base or soy ingredient, so if you have a soy allergy, this is not the choice for you! Taste is a difference between regular bacon and turkey bacon, but because of the lack of fat, turkey bacon often crisps far quicker than regular bacon. It's easy to transition traditional bacon to an alternative by crumbling the alternative into scrambled eggs or making a turkey bacon breakfast sandwich.
Primary: Whole Milk Yogurt. This is the base for most kid-themed yogurt packs you'll find in the dairy section. GoGo Squeeze is an on the run brand and often a default for yogurts and applesauce for younger kids and may be necessary if the use of utensils is not available. (Hint: our therapists love to snack on vanilla yogurt and Sensible Portions apple straws together because it tastes like a cinnamon roll!) Alternative: Oat milk Yogurt, Almond milk Yogurt, Dairy-Free (soy) Yogurt. Oat milk Yogurt is a hot commodity amongst clients AND therapists in the clinic! It offers a sweeter taste and is often much smoother than regular plain yogurt. Almond milk yogurt is nuttier and fuller in flavor, but certainly seems to be an acquired taste for younger clients. Add in your favorite granola or fresh fruit and you've got an easy, on-the-go breakfast choice!
Primary: Orange Juice. It is so difficult to go wrong with orange juice! A versatile drink choice, it pairs well with most breakfasts and is refreshing to drink even throughout the day. Use it to make popsicles, smoothie bowls, fruit salad, and MORE! Alternatives: Apple Juice, Cranberry Juice. Aside from water for obvious physical support, fruit juices are a great choice for the morning because it starts our diet fresh for the day with a dose of nutrition and something that tastes good. Apple Juice has natural sugars in it to give your body a boost of energy and Cranberry Juice aids in urinary tract health. Be careful when searching for a good Cranberry Juice, though. Lots of what you'll find is high in sugar, often called "Cranberry Juice Cocktail."
We want to hear what YOUR favorite breakfast meal is! Leave a comment below telling us your favorite meal or snack to kickstart your day and we may feature it on our Instagram (with your permission, of course!)