PEP Blog


Your Whole Family Breakfast Challenge

By Kelly Bradley, MSPT, CNC, CHC, CPI

Editor’s note: Today we welcome guest blogger Kelly Bradley, an integrative licensed physical therapist, certified health coach and nutritional consultant and certified chef. Kelly has been introducing parents and their children to whole, healthy, adventurous foods through her PEP workshops and the Can Do Kids Fair‘s “Good Eats” station, which she has organized for the past three years. This is the first of a monthly series.

Parents often ask me, “But how do I make the transition to healthier meal options at home? How do I get my kids to try different foods?”

For the next several months, I will offer a monthly food challenge to help you and your family do exactly that—transition to healthier food options and experiment with new foods at home. Plus, you’ll have loads of family fun while doing it.

Today we’re starting with your morning routine and breakfast. Next month we’ll tackle your afternoon routine and lunch. In June we’ll address your evening routine and dinner. The July challenge will be to experiment with energy-packed snack options and decide whether you need snacks or not. Finally, we’ll put it all together with a sample, one-week menu plan.

So get ready for some super fun new experiences in your kitchen and in your body. Make this a family event and get everyone involved in all aspects of the challenge—planning meals and snacks to try, making a grocery list and shopping, prepping for the meals, getting the table ready for an enjoyable meal together and turning up the music to dance around while you clean it all up together.

Let’s get started!

This month I challenge you to connect as a “Whole Family”
with your morning routine and breakfast.

Morning rituals are key to getting the family off to a calm, centered start. Early morning is a great time to set intentions for the day, notice what’s going on in your body and connect with your kids. Talk with them about things they may be excited or nervous about in the day ahead.  Eating a breakfast that gives you abundant energy for your entire morning is one of the most important parts of the routine. So how are you going to do this?

Start with planning the night before. You need to have a plan. No, it’s not going to work perfectly the first day you try it. Let go of perfection and instead start to value your imperfections and vulnerabilities and being your authentic self. Know that some mornings will be crazier than others and that is OK.

When you are creating your plan be realistic. Start with YOU. Maybe your partner and kids are not on board yet. Remember, kids and even partners learn more from just seeing what we do than from our telling them what to do. So make the changes in YOU first, and let the process unfold organically. If your partner is on board, work together on the changes for both of you and let them flow naturally to your children.

Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier to give yourself extra time to allow things to go as smoothly as possible. As you reorganize your morning routine you might even realize that an extra hour is more beneficial. But, don’t sacrifice sleep!! An optimal night’s sleep is necessary for the body and mind to function well. Experiment with how many hours of sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning. The goal is to determine what time you need to wake to do your new morning routine and breakfast challenge with ease, then set your bedtime to allow for your optimal sleep so you can wake feeling rejuvenated and ready for the day with no need for stimulants such as caffeine. That’s the goal. For now, just be aware of your need or lack of need for stimulants. Awareness is the first step to making change.

Your challenge is to experiment with a different breakfast every morning
and see how that breakfast makes you feel.

Pretend you are an investigator. Act like a researcher. No one knows your body and what it needs better than you. You hold the answers to all your questions inside of you. Begin to listen to your inner wisdom. It will tell you what is nourishing you and what is not.

I highly recommend you get a journal and start to note how your various meals and snacks make you feel. The questions below, using breakfast as the starting point, can get you thinking and bring more awareness to how you respond to food. You might also start asking your kids similar questions at the dinner table or before going to bed.

  • Am I excited to eat this breakfast?
  • How do I feel while eating this breakfast?
  • How do I feel right after eating this breakfast?
  • How do I feel two, three or four hours after eating this breakfast?
  • Notice if you get gas and bloating.
  • Notice if you feel like your breakfast is just stuck or if it flows right through you.
  • Notice if you feel tired and lethargic after eating or if you have lots of energy.

Consider bringing more conscious awareness to HOW you eat your breakfast. Here are some suggestions:

  • Take a few deep breaths when you prepare to eat your meal.
  • Consider what’s needed to keep the atmosphere quiet and relaxed.
  • Sit down to eat the meal.
  • Create rituals around eating, such as listening to relaxing music, lighting candles and serving your meals in a way that is visually appealing.
  • Bless or say thank you to the food that is about to nourish your cells.
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
  • Stop eating before you feel full.
  • Don’t drink water with your meals.

Eating in this way activates the parasympathetic nervous system or the relaxation response.  Digestion proceeds optimally only when we are in this relaxation response. The opposite is the fight, flight or freeze response, which is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. When your fight, flight or freeze response is activated, your blood goes primarily to the muscles, preparing for action, not digestion.

Here are seven breakfast ideas for you to experiment with this week. In addition, above the main-dish recipes are a few smoothie recipes because smoothies are a great way to get loads of fruits, veggies and other nutrient-dense foods into your body first thing in the morning. Plus, smoothies are super simple to make. Make enough one day to last another day or two. You might start the morning with an 8- to 16- ounce smoothie, wait 20 to 30 minutes and then eat your main breakfast. Experiment and see what works for you. Some days you might need just a big power smoothie with some added protein from hemp seeds or other nuts and seeds. Other days you might prefer only a main breakfast dish. Pay attention to your inner wisdom, start to follow its guidance and see what happens.

green smoothie

Green Coconut Smoothie
1 cup coconut milk
2 handfuls power greens mix
2 leaves kale
2 dates
Dash cinnamon
Directions: Place all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.

Avocado Banana Smoothie
1 frozen banana
½ cup frozen mango
½ small avocado
1 cup spinach
1¼ cup almond or hemp milk
½ teaspoon vanilla bean or cinnamon
Directions: Blend all ingredients till smooth.

No Fruit Green Smoothie
½ organic cucumber, chopped
¼ cup parsley
½ lemon, peeled
½ avocado, pitted and peeled
2 cups organic, raw spinach
1 cup coconut water
6 ice cubes
Directions: Blend all ingredients till smooth.

Green Orangeade Smoothie
½ frozen banana
½ medium cucumber, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 cup greens of your choice
1 cup nut milk or coconut milk
1 cup ice
Directions: Blend all ingredients till smooth.

bradley featured

Smoked Salmon (or any wild salmon) and Veggies
4-6 ounces of smoked salmon or any wild salmon (canned, baked etc)
Greens and/or veggies of choice
Directions: In a sauté pan place a dash of coconut oil or ghee and greens and veggies. Add salmon to warm slightly. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy. This one is super quick and easy.

Simple Breakfast Tofu Scramble
½ c sprouted non-gmo organic tofu
1 handful greens
Other veggies of choice
Dash of sea salt
Dash of dulse (optional)
Directions: In a saucepan drizzle olive oil or ghee. Chop tofu into chunks and sauté in pan. Add greens, veggies, sea salt and dulse. Enjoy!

Power Scrambled Eggs
1-2 whole organic grass-fed local eggs
Greens and veggies of choice
½ tsp turmeric
Dash sea salt
Dash of dulse (optional)
Directions: Place drizzle of ghee in pan. Scramble all ingredients, cook and enjoy. You can add a piece of paleo toast with ghee to this meal.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
½ cup non-gluten slow-cooked rolled oats
¾ cup almond milk
¾ cup water
1 medium carrot
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg and cloves
Pinch of sea salt
1-2 tsp maple syrup or honey
Directions: Finely grate the carrot. In a small saucepan, mix oats, carrot, spices, almond milk and water. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy. Add sea salt and maple syrup, transfer to a bowl and serve.

Paleo Toast with Avocado Mash
2 pieces paleo bread
½ ripe avocado
Optional to add herbs, spices and veggies to the avocado mash (cilantro, onion, turmeric, red pepper)
Directions: Toast paleo bread. Mash ripe avocado with herb and veggies of choice. Spread avocado mash onto toast. An example of an avocado mash is ½ ripe avocado mashed with ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp scallions and chopped tomatoes. Be creative and use herbs and seasonings that you love. Make it truly your own.

kids breakfast

Almond and Coconut Quinoa Porridge (4 servings)
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried quinoa
1 cup water
1½ cup full fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
Directions: Bring quinoa, maple syrup, sea salt, cinnamon, 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer until fluffy, 15-20 minutes.

Protein and veggies from dinner the night before
The combinations are endless. Here are some examples:
Halibut with greens and veggies
Shrimp on a bed of spinach and veggies drizzled with olive oil
Liver pâté and tomato sauce and veggies
Turkey or beef bacon with plate of mixed veggies
Be creative and enjoy dinner for breakfast!
Directions: Add coconut oil or ghee to warm pan, add leftover protein and veggies, transfer to a bowl and enjoy.

Have fun with this challenge. Make it a whole family event. Play some lively music while you prepare your delicious breakfast meals, dance around a bit and get the morning off to a fantastic start.  

P. S.  MOM’s Organic Market is where I do 99 percent of my grocery shopping. You can find there all the ingredients for these recipes, including things that you may not have heard of, such as ghee, paleo bread and dulse flakes. If you can’t find something just ask; the staff are always happy to help. The tofu I use—sprouted, non-gmo, organic—is found in the refrigerator section at MOM’s.

Editor’s disclosure: MOM’s Organic Market is a regular sponsor of PEP programs, including this spring’s class schedule and the Can Do Kids Fair last month. This post is not sponsored.


Tell us how this challenge goes for you! Add your comments and questions here or on my Bradley Wellness Facebook page or email me directly at kelly@bradleywellness.com. Check out my website and blog for more recipes and resources. My new website and blog are a work in progress, so check back from time to time because there will be free offers and lots of great resources, programs and events listed.    


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for PEPTalk

Subscribe to our mailing list

Powered by Robly


Parent Encouragement Program
10100 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

Apart from the free survey software, we also have access to QuestionPro's free survey templates . We've found many of them useful and powerful to collect insights from various stakeholders of our organization.