10 Healthy lessons for the breakfast table

Jul 20, 2010 at 10:06 a.m. ET

Breakfast food is brain food, but what you talk about at the breakfast table can be just as integral to your kids’ intelligence. These little lessons are perfect starters for pointing kids in the right direction toward healthy food habits for life.

Family breakfast

1Eating according to the Food Guide Pyramid

Point to food on kids' plates to help them connect the broad Food Guide Pyramid category (for example, grains) to specific examples (toast). Encourage questions and look up tricky answers together.

2Suggested serving sizes

Use breakfast foods to show children appropriate suggested serving sizes and how the kids can measure them (what a cup of fruit looks like, how much room scrambled eggs should take up on a plate) when they are eating away from home.

3Basic food safety

Explain to kids why meats should be cooked thoroughly, dairy items need to be refrigerated and putting used cutlery into communal items like peanut butter or jam jars is never a good idea. The appropriate use of knives and common sense around hot food containers are also easy lessons for early morning.

4The importance of fruits and veggies

Teach your kids to "strive for five" and "eat the rainbow" by mixing up their fruits and veggies each day. Don't penalize kids for not liking a taste or texture, but require them to try something before avoiding it in the future.

5All about food processing

Kids won't necessarily know where their breakfast foods come from, so help them figure out how whole foods are processed into packaged foods. Identify cereals as coming from whole grains, discuss how skim milk is made and explore where yogurt comes from.

Up next: 5 More tips for healthy breakfasts >>

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