When it comes to healthy eating, evidence proves that eating breakfast important for growing children.
Studies show breakfast eaters tend to have:
- Higher attendance levels in school
- Less tardiness
- Fewer hunger-induced stomach aches in the morning
- Higher overall test scores
- Better concentration and solve problem more easily
- Better muscle coordination
Children who eat breakfast also are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and get enough calcium, too. Whether your children eat at home or at school, be sure they eat a nutritious breakfast every day.
How do I get my child to eat a healthy breakfast?
Four fun ways to get your child to eat a good breakfast
1. Whip Up a Quick and Easy Morning Meal
Here’s a list of quick, easy tasty and nutrient-dense foods your child will love:
- Peanut butter spread on whole-grain toast
- Grits and eggs
- Porridge with ginger and cinnamon
- Omelet or omurice (fried rice omelet)
- Chilaquiles with eggs
- Iron-fortified cereal and milk or fortified non-dairy alternative with banana slices
- Instant oatmeal topped with chopped walnuts and sliced strawberries (make with milk for added protein!)
- Dosa or crepes plain or stuffed with curried potatoes and chutney, fresh fruits, and nut butter
- Smoothie including milk or fortified non-dairy alternative, spinach, frozen banana, and nut butter
- Parfait with layers of yogurt, whole-grain granola, and blueberries
- Ful mudammas — fava bean salad with parsley, tomatoes, green onion, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
2. Make a “Build Your Own Breakfast Bar”
Let your kids build their own breakfast with a variety of foods to mix and match.
- Whole-grain cereals, waffles, tortillas, bread, or English muffins
- Peanut butter
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Fig or apricot jam
- Variety of sliced fruit such as bananas strawberries, papaya, or Passionfruit
- Cooked apples or fruit compote
- Cheese slices
- Chopped nuts such as cashews or pistachios
- Raisins and dried cranberries
- Low-fat or fat-free milk
- Hard-boiled eggs
3. Jazz Up Cooked Cereal
For a great grain-filled breakfast, add flavor and nutrition to cooked cereals (instant or not), such as oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits, brown rice, or whole-grain couscous.
- Use fruit juice — apple, orange or another 100% juice — or low-fat or fat-free milk as the cooking liquid.
- For cooked cereal, stir in chopped fruit (apple, peach, banana, kiwifruit), dried fruit (chopped apricots, papaya, dates, raisins, cranberries) or nuts and seeds.
- Add dry milk powder to cooked cereal to boost calcium.
- Liven it up with spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, or cloves.
Pack them a breakfast they can take with them to eat on the bus or when they get to school. You will not only be encouraging your children to eat nutritiously but fueling their growing bodies and minds for success.
Start the day out right and give your children a healthy start!
Adapted from: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN, Cordialis Msora-Kasago, MA, RD, Grace Derocha, MBA, RD, CDCES, Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, LD and Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE