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How to get your child to eat breakfast and enjoy it!

Wondering how to get your child to eat breakfast?

Tips on how to get your child to eat breakfast!

Breakfast has long been known as ‘the most important meal of the day’.  But some of us may ask, why is this the case, and if so, how do we get our children to eat and enjoy their first meal of the day?

Breakfast is essentially what the name implies, breaking the overnight fast of food.  Breakfast is the meal that supplies our brain and body with much needed nutrients in order to get us functioning properly for the day.  As our brains only fuel source is glucose, we require carbohydrate (main source of glucose) in the morning, such as grainy breads and cereals, fruit, milk or yogurt to prevent your brain being ‘foggy’.  This is especially important for children.  Children who do not eat breakfast are more prone to becoming irritable, tired, easily distracted and restless compared to those children who have breakfast.

Breakfast provides your child with a valuable combination of important food groups.  Breads and cereals and dairy are the two main food groups usually consumed at breakfast time.  Breads and cereals provide important sources of carbohydrates and fibre.  Dairy foods provide a valuable source of protein and calcium, of which will help with immunity, muscle growth and bone health.

It is easy to appreciate the value of breakfast for our children, but getting them to eat it and enjoy it can be a challenge.  There are many things that parents can do to get their child eating more at breakfast, these include:

Establishing a routine.

This includes getting up at the same time each morning (on week days) and following a routine.  For example, get out of bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and then get changed etc.  This will allow breakfast to become a normal part of the child’s daily routine.

Parent’s being role models.

Although mornings can be a very busy time of day, parents still need to set a good example by eating breakfast with their child.

Let the child be part of the breakfast decision making process.

Ask them what they would like to have for breakfast. For example, what fruit would they like on their cereal or what flavour yoghurt would they like?

Try something different.

If your child is getting bored of the same breakfast each day, include something different, such as introducing food from a different culture or having a breakfast theme day (i.e. bush tucker breakfast).

Keep variety!!

This is probably the most important one to remember. Keeping variety will keep your child interested in eating, and it will also ensure that a variety of foods are being offered to the child which can help in developing taste preferences and ensuring all the food group requirements are being met.

Examples of breakfast ideas for children include:

  • Toasted ricotta and berry wraps drizzled with honey
  • A boiled egg with ‘soldiers’ (a piece of grainy toast cut into strips)
  • Fruit smoothie made with yoghurt
  • Baked beans on an English muffin
  • Pancakes with fruit and yoghurt – you can even make the fruit form the ‘face’ of the pancake by letting your child decorate it
  • Crumpets with jam
  • Cereal with added fruit, nuts and yoghurt
  • Grilled cheese and tomato on toast fingers
  • Savoury omelette (again letting your child decide on what fillings they would like)
  • Warm apple and cinnamon muffins (put mixture together the night before and refrigerate then bake fresh in the morning)
  • Homemade hash browns
  • Peanut butter, banana and honey on grainy bread
  • Smoothie bowl – Check out our recipe here!

For more information see the Healthy at Home section and recipes on the  www.naqld.org website.

We’ve also compiled a great list of all you can eat breakfast buffets your kids will be begging you to take them back.

This article was published in Issue 21 of our print magazine, April/May 2017.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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