If getting your kids to eat breakfast is a daily challenge, entice them to the table with these five tips to make breakfast fun and tasty.
1. Make breakfasts with color
In addition to including vibrant fresh fruit for your family’s morning meal, captivate your kiddos with swirls of different colors. Add a fresh fruit puree to oatmeal and pancake, waffle, or muffin batter to turn a normally golden tan breakfast into a palette of strawberry red, blackberry purple or blueberry blue. You can even colorize milk and cold cereal made with whole grains with dried and fresh fruit, fruit-flavored yogurt or a sprinkle of cocoa (for a chocolatey treat).
2. Turn breakfast into art
Unleash your child’s imagination by letting them turn their meal into an edible person, place or thing. For example, encourage them to make faces on their pancakes or French toast by using cereal and fruit (pieces of cereal for hair, blueberries for eyes, half a strawberry for a nose, and a small slice of apple for a mouth). Let them pretend their bowl of cold cereal is an ocean full of fish (add an assortment of nuts and fruit to represent ocean life). Make a fruit salad more enticing by cutting fruit to represent parts of an animal (make a turtle by setting half a peach flat-side down on a plate, decorate with pieces of cold cereal, add banana slices for legs, a ball of melon for a head and half a strawberry for a tail).
3. Use cookie cutters to make fun, educational shapes
Cookie cutters can be used to form pancakes and sunny-side up eggs as well as whimsical toast shapes. Make animal-shaped pancakes by setting cookie cutters down on a preheated greased skillet. Pour pancake batter into cutters and cook until set around the edges. Carefully remove cutter, flip pancake and cook until golden. Using the same method, crack an egg in a number-shaped cookie cutter to make numbered eggs. Make alphabet toast by toasting bread and cutting it with a letter-shaped cookie cutter. With the large variety of cookie cutters, every breakfast can feature different shapes.
4. Play the name game
Toast isn’t just toast and peanut butter isn’t just ground peanuts. Start breakfast with a name game by having your kids come up with whimsical names for their meal. For example, peanut butter and jelly on toast can be a Nutty Fruit Raft. Pancakes can be Breakfast UFO’s. Cold cereal can be Cheerios Ocean or Lucky Charms Lake. Make it even more interesting by having your kids then tell you a story about their Nutty Fruit Raft or Cheerios Ocean. Once you get in the habit of playing the name game, your kids will come to the table ready to wow you with their newly-named morning meal.
5. Get your kids involved in breakfast
Teaching your children the basics of making breakfast will not only entice them to eat a morning meal, it helps them become more confident in the cooking skills (which can eventually save you time in the morning when they start making their own breakfasts). Take a weekend morning to not only plan the upcoming week’s morning meals but to also teach your kids how to make one of the breakfast dishes. And as you plan your meals, talk with your kids about the foods they like and ways to incorporate ones they don’t. Also, let them accompany you to the store to help pick out cold cereals, fruit, juices and types of yogurt. The more your kids are involved in their morning meals, the more likely they will want to eat — and the more fun breakfast can be for the whole family.