Breakfast is the first meal of the day that a person eats hours after their last meal the previous night. Research highlights that children who regularly eat wholesome breakfast have better weight control, better muscle coordination, higher physical activity level, improved alertness and memory, improved cognitive and academic performance, and less school absenteeism (1)(2)(3).
However, about eight to 12 percent of all school-aged children skip breakfast (4). There can be several reasons for a child missing breakfast, but you need to change the situation. Out of several things you could do, you could try some healthy and kid-friendly breakfast ideas to let your child look forward to eating.
In this post, we share some practical tips to make breakfast healthy and kid-friendly and give you some healthy breakfast ideas that you and your child can try.
Tips To Make A Healthy Breakfast For Children
- Give your children options. Ask them what they would like to have for breakfast, andgive them two to three options. You could then decide on the dish that you will prepare the following day. Doing so will give your child the joy of making decisions. Also, this way, you can involve them in meal planning and then the meal preparation process, which can help them learn healthy eating habits.
- Plan meals in advance. It will help you know what ingredients you need and how much time each item will take to cook. With this information in hand, you can start your day as usual or earlier so that the breakfast is ready on time for the children to eat before they leave for school.
- Create a balanced meal by including different foods from major food groups, such as grain and cereals, low-fat dairy, proteins, fruits, and vegetables in each meal. Make interesting combinations that are nutritious yet appealing. For instance, you can serve your child mini vegetable quiche and a cup of banana shake with seeds and nuts for breakfast.
- Choose healthy options from each food group. It will ensure the final dish is wholesome and nutritious. For instance, it is good to select quinoa, oats, muesli, or any other whole grains over refined grains. Similarly, choose lean protein sources, such as egg and fish, instead of red meat. Low-fat dairy is another food choice you should make to ensure your child is eating healthy.
- Give them smaller portions. This is essential, as children, especially young children, have a small appetite. They can’t eat as much as adults do. So, rather than serving them an entire portion of food, break it into halves. For instance, rather than giving your child one vegetable sandwich with a glass of banana shake, provide them with half a sandwich and a small cup of milkshake.
- Think out of the box and experiment with ingredients. Try making a dish colorful, appealing, and flavorful so that it can attract a child into eating. Since breakfast often needs to be a quick meal, focus on “on-the-go” dishes, such as sandwiches and wraps. Such dishes can also be easily packed.
- Be a role model. Eat breakfast daily and, if possible, with your child. Eating breakfast with children offers you an opportunity to bond with them. Besides, it lets your child learn healthy eating habits from you. If you skip breakfast, the child is also likely to do the same.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Children
Try these healthy and flavorful breakfast ideas and ensure your child eats happily every morning.
1. Vegetable omelet with multigrain bread
Eggs are rich in protein, iron, and vitamin D. So, make a healthy veggie omelet using different veggies, such as onion, tomato, corn, mushroom, and bell peppers. Serve them with toasted multigrain bread and a cup of warm milk. You can find some more healthy and yummy egg recipes for children here.
2. Grilled cottage cheese sandwich
Crumble cottage cheese and cook it with onion, tomato, green peas, and spinach. Cottage cheese can give children reasonable amounts of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. Fill this stuffing in bread slices and grill them. The dish is ready!
You can make different versions of this easy-to-make, on-the-go breakfast dish and serve it to children across ages. Find more sandwich recipes for kids here.
3. Peanut butter and banana toast
Peanut butter and banana! You can use these two ingredients to make nutritious toasts in less than five minutes. Spread peanut butter on the toasted multigrain bread and top them with banana slices; the dish is ready! You may add toasted sesame seeds, finely chopped nuts, and dried berries to enhance the recipe’s nutritional value.
4. Vegetable oats
Here’s a simple recipe that you can make in less than ten minutes. All you need to do is cook oats in water with loads of veggies, peanuts, sesame seeds, and seasonings. The result is a delectable high-fiber dish that can offer your child plenty of micronutrients, such as B vitamins.
5. Vegetable/leftover meat mini quiche
Mini quiche is a portion-controlled, tasty breakfast dish that children love to eat. You can make this simple baked dish wholesome by adding vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tofu/cottage cheese to it. Alternatively, you can use leftover meat with herbs to make a yummy non-vegetarian version of this dish.
6. Leftover chicken wrap
Chicken is a high-protein food that people eat across meals. So, if there’s leftover chicken, such as grilled chicken, at home, try making leftover chicken wrap. Wrap the leftover chicken with some sautéed veggies in a tortilla wrap and heat it on the pan. Ta-da, your healthy breakfast is ready!
7. Fruit and nut delight smoothie
Smoothies are easy-to-make, flavorful, and sumptuous, and children love them. You can whip up a smoothie fresh in the morning or prepare it the night before. Mix and match Cereals, plant-based milk or animal milk, nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruits, and veggies to make a personalized smoothie drink or smoothie bowl. Here are some more delectable smoothie recipes you can try.
8. Overnight oats
This is a delectable dish made up of oats, milk (cow milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.), fruits (fresh or dried), nuts (almonds, pine nuts, hazelnut, etc.), and seeds (chia seeds, hemp hearts, flaxseeds, etc.). To make this super quick dish, add all the ingredients in a mason jar or bowl and then refrigerate it overnight. The next day, your child can eat it as it is or add more fruits to it.
9. Veggie-loaded burrito
Burrito is a Mexican dish made up of various ingredients, such as canned beans, sprouts, cheese, and veggies such as lettuce, onion, and bell peppers, wrapped inside a tortilla. You may also add crumbled tofu, cottage cheese, chicken, or scrambled eggs. Furthermore, you can add herbs, such as oregano and basil, to alter its taste as per your child’s liking.
10. Scrambled tofu and avocado burger
Scramble tofu and cook it with avocado and other veggies of your choice. Add seasonings and herbs and fill the final stuffing between the seeded whole grain/multigrain burger buns. Grill or pan toast the burger before serving. You can replace tofu with scrambled eggs or leftover chicken or meat to make a non-vegetarian burger.
11. Fruit parfait
Parfait is a French dessert made up of cream, egg, and sugar. To make its healthy version, you can use Greek yogurt. All you have to do is mix a cup of unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt with different fruits and layer it with different nuts, seeds, granola, and seasonings, such as cinnamon.
12. Mini veggie/leftover chicken pizza
Pizza is one of those foods that most children love to eat. You can make a healthy mini pizza for breakfast using healthy ingredients, such as a whole grain pizza base, veggies, feta cheese, and herbs. Serve the mini pizza with a cup of fresh lemonade at home, or they can just grab it and eat it on the go. You can get the complete recipe here.
13. Sweet potato and kale frittata
Frittata is an egg-based, baked Italian dish that one can make in several ways. You can add different veggies, cheese, seeds, and herbs to enhance the recipe’s taste, flavor, and nutritional value. Here’s the broccoli frittata recipe that you can easily make with your child. You can also try making the vegan frittata using chickpea flour and plant-based milk.
14. Savory scones
Scones are baked goods made up of whole wheat or oatmeal. One can make sweet and savory scones to serve at breakfast. Savory scones can be made with various ingredients, such as veggies, cheese, cottage cheese/tofu, legumes, and beans. They are generally served with a dip and can be eaten with cold or warm beverages, such as milk and ginger ale.
Quesadilla is yet another Mexican dish made up of thin dough or tortilla and filling consisting of veggies, cheese, herbs, chicken, meat, etc. Experiment with these ingredients and prepare a quesadilla of your child’s liking. You can also make it with leftover ingredients and serve it across meals.
Here are some more healthy, easy-to-make, and drool-worthy breakfast ideas for kids.
- Shakshuka with pita bread
- Bean, avocado, and goat cheese taco
- Pear and sorghum porridge
- Seed- and nut-loaded finger millet porridge
- Plum and quinoa muffin
- Egg and vegetable casserole bites
- Oatmeal fruit cups
- Egg and vegetable quinoa
- French toast vegetable rolls
- Spinach chapati roll with stuffed veggies and cheese
- Cottage cheese pancakes with fresh fruits (diced)
- Waffle with low-fat yogurt and strawberry slices
- Toasted whole-grain bagel with low-fat cream cheese spread and peach slices
- Baked raspberry and lemon oatmeal
- Banana bread with deviled eggs
A healthy breakfast is vital for a child’s growth and development. Yet, several children skip their breakfast due to lack of time in the morning or just boredom. As a parent, you can work on both these issues by trying on-the-go, quick breakfast ideas for kids. These breakfast ideas are healthy, flavorful, and customizable. And what’s more, you can prepare most of them the night before and save time the following day.
- Martina Lundqvist Nicklas Ennab Vogel and Lars-Åke Levin; Effects of eating breakfast on children and adolescents: A systematic review of potentially relevant outcomes in economic evaluations; Food & Nutrition Research (2019)
- Katie Adolphus Clare L. Lawton and Louise Dye; The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents; Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2013)
- Breakfast: Key to Growing Healthy; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- The Case for Eating Breakfast; American Academy of Pediatrics
- Healthy eating tips for kids: Breakfast; Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Breakfast for Learning; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Tips on how to make healthy breakfasts for your child; Dietitians of Canada
- Easy And Healthy Smoothies For Kids
- Best Foods That Help Relieve Constipation In Kids
- Healthy Foods For Kids And Tips To Make Them Eat
- Fruits And Vegetables For Kids: Health Benefits And Fun Facts