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The world is abuzz with back to school! We parents can’t help it – it’s a really exciting time. I still remember the feeling of going shopping for school supplies with my mom – the smell of the store, the feel of the notebooks, the thrill of picking out new neon pens. I wish I could do it again sometimes, and then I realize I do get to do it again with my little boy! I am taking him to pre-K orientation tomorrow morning – eek!
We have started talking a bit more about nutrition in our house, and I am teaching Mazen the difference between protein-rich foods and energy-rich foods. Of course, both belong in a healthy diet so when I ask him what he wants for breakfast, I make suggestions to create a good balance. I tell him that protein helps build muscles (he is really into muscles right now!) and helps keep him full so he won’t feel hungry by mid-morning, and foods like bread and fruit will help give him energy to run fast (which he is also really excited about!) And of course vegetables are good for lots of things, I tell him. He really wants to be stronger, taller, and faster than me (and I’m sure he will be one day), and I tell him that I will keep being the stronger, taller, faster one until he eats as many vegetables as I do!
Mazen drinks milk with breakfast quite often, and it’s probably one of the simplest ways to boost protein in the morning since it’s important to get protein into every meal, especially breakfast. All you have to do is pour it in a glass or use it in your breakfast recipes! An 8-ounce glass of milk contains 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of natural, high-quality protein. A recent study found that kids who ate a high-protein breakfast (18 grams) felt fuller and burned more energy compared to when they ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (source). I try and make sure Mazen’s breakfasts are balanced and protein-filled.
This festive Wheels On The Bus French Toast is a great balance of carbs and protein that will send him to preschool fueled up for the day. It is made with milk and pairs well with a cold 8-ounce glass on the side. While he’s not quite old enough for the school bus, we watch our neighbor friend get on it every day, so it’s definitely on the Cool List!
The recipe is simple. I used Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat bread soaked in egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla and cooked in butter until golden brown.
I used a cookie cutter shaped like a bus, but you could also use a knife to shape your toast. Use the edges to make a road.
Blueberries look like the excited little faces of school children all aboard, and bananas symbolize wheels. Extra blueberries and a cherry “stop sign” complete the scene, but feel free to put out all the fruit in the house and let the kids get creative!
Wheels On The Bus French Toast
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 slices whole wheat bread such as Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat
- 4 teaspoons salted butter
- 1 banana banana slices
- A few tbsp blueberries
- 1 cup – cherries blueberries, bananas (optional for garnish)
- Mix eggs, 1/2 cup milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow bowl or dish. Add slices of bread and allow to soak 2 minutes. Flip and soak two minutes on side two. While bread soaks, heat skillet to medium heat and add butter to melt. Swirl around pan.
- Add individual bread slices and cook for about 4 minutes per side, until French toast is lightly brown and no longer wet. Using a 5.5 x 3.25-inch bus-shaped cookie cutter or a knife, cut each slice of bread into a bus. Use excess pieces to assemble a road and place underneath bus-shaped toast slices on plate; use a knife to style as desired.
- Top French toast bites with two 1/4" banana slices each for wheels and blueberries to symbolize school children. If desired, get creative and garnish with additional fruits (ideas include a cherry for a stop sign, banana slices for lanes on the road).