Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We all know that, but quite a few people – kids and adults – skip this morning meal.
Nutrients missed at breakfast, by either skipping it altogether or by having a less-than-nutritious breakfast, makes it hard to get those necessary vitamins and minerals over the rest of the day. You also can’t “bank” nutrition by having healthy breakfasts on weekdays and indulging on weekends. Whether it’s a school day or a snooze day, start it off on the right foot with some healthy breakfast ideas for kids.
Tip #1 – Make it Fun
Go ahead – have fun with your food! When we’re enjoying ourselves, whether it’s because of the way the food tastes or the fun we’re having while making it, we’re more likely to want to do it again. Here are some ways to make breakfast fun:
Set up a breakfast buffet bar. Kids love to customize, whether it’s the fillings in their tacos or the toppings on an ice cream sundae. Why should breakfast be any different? Start with a base and set up toppings or fillings that kids can choose from to make their breakfast their own. Here are some healthy breakfast ideas for kids that are sure to spark creativity:
Base Toppings Waffles or pancakes Cut up fruit, maple syrup, peanut butter, fruit preserves, shredded coconut, cinnamon Cooked oatmeal Fresh or frozen berries, dried fruit (like raisins), brown sugar, maple syrup, chopped nuts, cinnamon Plain yogurt Cut up fruit, cereal, granola, honey or maple syrup, chia seeds Eggs (for omelets or muffin-tin frittatas) Chopped vegetables, assorted shredded cheese, chopped ham, salsa Bagels, toast or English muffins Cream cheese, cottage cheese, peanut butter, sliced vegetables (tomatoes, onions, avocados), sliced fruit, smoked salmon, sliced hard boiled eggs
Plate adorable shapes. Use cookie cutters to help shape eggs or pancake batter, or to cut fun shapes in toast. Bring bugs to the plate by making fun fruit caterpillars by alternating slices of green and red apples, or slices of strawberries and bananas, and serve with a side of yogurt.
Play “Guess the Ingredient.” Make a smoothie and see if your child can guess what you put in it. This is a great mindfulness exercise as well, encouraging kids to concentrate on what they’re eating and using their vocabulary to come up with words to describe what they taste.
Tip #2 – Make it for Two (or Three, or More)
Eating a meal together makes it more enjoyable, and also helps instill healthy habits. If you don’t have time on busy school days, try to set aside at least one weekend morning as a family breakfast date. You can make the meal together as a family as a fun activity, or simply serve it up and just eat it together.
For those busy mornings when sitting down together just isn’t an option, make ahead an easy breakfast for kids that can be eaten two, three or more times. That could be a batch of pancakes that can be frozen and reheated in single-serve batches, hard boiled eggs, or homemade breakfast bars.
Tip #3 – Make it Easy
You definitely want your kids to eat breakfast, but you also want it to be nutrient-packed and include some dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein. Kids need protein at breakfast, plus other important nutrients, such as calcium and iron to help fuel their morning. Nutritional supplement drinks like Carnation Breakfast Essentials® are also an easy and convenient breakfast option. Just pair with a piece of fruit and you are good to go!
Breakfast Recipes for Kids
If you’re having a hard time coming up with new or fun healthy breakfast recipes for kids, try one of these:
Overnight oats – Just mix the ingredients in a jar or container and it’s ready by morning! Another idea is to prepare oatmeal in a slow cooker to cook overnight. In the morning, you have a piping hot breakfast.
Breakfast yogurt popsicles – It’s like dessert for breakfast, but much healthier and with essential vitamins and nutrients that kids need!
Green smoothie – Chances are your kids won’t even taste the spinach. The pear, bananas and other ingredients give this smoothie a great taste plus great nutrition.
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