3 Ways to encourage healthy choices at the breakfast table

Jan 3, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that’s even more true for kids. Try these tips to encourage your children to start their day off with a healthy meal.

Family eating breakfast

A good breakfast gives your family a healthy start to the day. Kids who eat a nutritious breakfast feel better and go longer without getting hungry, so they're able to concentrate better at school. Once it is time for lunch or a snack, someone who ate a good breakfast usually opts for more nutritious food throughout the day. Try these tips to encourage healthy eating at your breakfast table.


Eat breakfast together

One of the best ways to encourage your children to eat a healthy breakfast is to sit down for breakfast as a family as often as you can. Not only does this provide a great bonding opportunity, but it provides a routine, something your kids need. Knowing they're going to sit down with you to eat breakfast every day is comforting, and may bring on a better appetite. It also gives you a chance to lead by example. If your kids see you making healthy choices at the breakfast table, they're more likely to do the same, so think twice before you reach for that donut.

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2Give them choices

No kid likes to be told what to do, and this is also true at meal time. Instead of telling your kids what they're going to have for breakfast, give them options – just make sure the options are all good ones! Stock your kitchen with lots of nutritious breakfast choices like whole grain toast, fresh fruit, low-sugar cereal, yogurt and more. If they get to decide what they're going to eat, your kids are much more likely to eat it.

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3Let them be the chefs

Kids love to feel independent, so make it work to your advantage in the morning. Teach your children how to cook and encourage them to make their own breakfast. Start off simple, with healthy cereals or yogurt topped with fruit. You can also make big batches of whole wheat pancakes or waffles on the weekend and put them in the freezer. This way, all your kids will need to do is pop them in the toaster or microwave and they'll be on their way to a healthy breakfast. Once they're comfortable in the kitchen, you can move on to more complicated meals like eggs or oatmeal. They'll enjoy the independence and get an extra boost in confidence, not to mention the health benefits. You'll get the benefit of one less item on your morning to-do list, and maybe 10 extra minutes of sleep.

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More tips for a healthy breakfast

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