Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but an estimated 40 percen of children do not eat any, or an adequate, breakfast each morning. If your kids fall into this group, don’t despair. With just a few easy tweaks to your morning routine, you’ll soon have your little ones literally fighting for space at the table.
Wake ’em up earlier.
Some kids don’t eat breakfast because they just aren’t hungry for it when they wake up. Have your kids complete most of their morning routines before getting to the table so that they have a little extra time between getting up and eating up. Or wake everyone 15 to 20 minutes earlier and use this extra time wisely — maybe by having the kids walk the dog with you to work up an appetite. Of course, this requires going to bed a little earlier so that no one skimps on sleep, but soon it will be just another normal routine.
Ask their advice.
All kids do not like all breakfast foods — that’s just a fact of life. Before planning your family’s breakfasts, ask your kids fwhat they’d like to see on the table. Lay down some house rules so no one expects homemade chocolate waffles every morning, but give your kids some leeway to make their own choices. You may need to institute a rota, such that one child picks the week’s cereal or one gets his choice of juice, but no doubt your kids will let you know whose turn it is without you ever having to ask.
Make it a game.
If stooping to bribery makes you shiver, put a little twist on it by making breakfast into a game. Give out points to those who finish their meals, or the parts of their meals they usually don’t eat, and let them accumulate toward an ultimate prize. Perhaps homemade pancakes on the weekend? Chocolate chips in the strawberry muffins? New plates, glasses or straws? Keep the prizes focused on breakfast to reinforce the importance of the meal.
Focus on foreign foods.
Sometimes, kids get a little bored with the same old options at breakfast, so make it a point to celebrate foreign foods. Spend some time together researching breakfast foods from around the world and make a list of those you’d like to try. Dedicate a week or month to trying out new tastes, or surprise kids with new dishes every now and then. When you’ve exhausted your first-tier options, head back to the books to figure out a few more.
Stash cereal for later.
Even if you have to give up on the idea of breakfast around the table, you don’t have to give up on the idea of breakfast for good. Get it to go by packing bags of dry cereal to snack on or stringing cereal onto thin thread to make fun, edible necklaces. Single-serving breakfast cereals can also be “wet” with yogurt, a juice box or a carton of milk later on. Just don’t forget to pack a spoon!
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How to prepare healthy snacks for your kids
Join SheKnows’ Shay Pausa as she goes down to the pantry to get easy tips from nutritionist Michelle Dudasche on preparing healthy snacks for your kids.