Sure, breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but try telling that to a preschooler who’s more interested in playing than eating their pancakes. Still, when your kid has to get up and ready to start the day, you need a meal that’s going to be as hearty and healthy as it is delish. So if you’re tired of serving the same old thing, these 25 breakfast ideas for preschoolers just might move you to the head of the class.
The good news is that there's no need to come up with a breakfast bonanza every morning just to get your kid to eat. “While it's important to offer a variety, it's not absolutely necessary to offer new breakfast foods every day,” nutritionist Kara Hoerr, RDN, tells Romper in an email. “Instead, offer variety by making small changes to their meal.” Still, you might find that after weeks of frozen waffles, both you and your child are looking for something deliciously different. So if your kid craves oatmeal in the mornings, for example, you can vary it by offering different toppings, such as fruits, some seeds (chia, hemp, or even flax for crunch), or other yummy add-ins like nut butter, cinnamon — or even mini chocolate chips.
If at all possible, try to steer clear of the sugary stuff, though. “All parents should aim to avoid two things, sugar and chemicals, therefore the more real, whole foods they can provide their children, the better,” Melissa Kathryn, a certified holistic nutritionist, tells Romper in an email. So even though your kid is begging for a powdery donut, try some toast with sliced avocado instead (that's the same to a toddler, right?).
And on those manic mornings when you have 30 seconds to serve up your child's first meal of the day, make it fruit. “Depending on dietary needs and restrictions, fruit is always a great first food on an empty belly,” Dr. Olivia Audrey, M.D., a board certified naturopathic doctor and wellness expert, tells Romper in an email. “High in fiber and natural sugars, it can help restore blood sugar levels as well.” You can also opt for proteins (think eggs) that can help keep your kiddo feeling full until snack time at school.
So if you’re looking to get your preschooler to eat something (anything) before the start of the school day, you can check out what these moms are serving up for breakfast. You might be inspired to makeover your morning menu.
Christina, mom of 2
“My kid likes to pick, so I just put out lots of little things for her to eat, like berries and granola. I try to see how much she’s actually eating, since it looks like she’s just nibbling, but her pediatrician said she’s at the right weight for her age, so I guess she’s okay.”
Elsa, mom of 2
“My son only wants to eat sandwiches — for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So it doesn’t feel like the same sammy every meal, I use these cute sandwich cutters, which make fun shapes. It gets him to eat faster in the morning, which is my ultimate goal.”
Beth, mom of 4
“My kids like yogurt in the morning. Usually I would give them a fun-flavored one, but recently, they started liking Greek yogurt, and I feel like it’s such a parental win.”
Anne, mom of 2
“My 3-year-old typically gets a waffle with a bit of syrup, a small handful of fruit (grapes or strawberries), and a sausage link or two.”
Maya, mom of 1
“Bacon! It’s bacon every morning. I roast it every morning in the oven before they come downstairs. It makes the house smell amazing, but it’s a scent that sticks to you, if you know what I mean. When I show up at work, my clothes smell like a diner.”
Laura, mom of 4
“I do a toast bar. I’ll put slices of wheat toast into the toaster, and then put out different toppings, like butter, cream cheese, peanut butter, or berries. I find that my kids are more likely to eat when they have a choice about what they eat.”
Alix, mom of 5
“A chocolate sandwich. It’s basically Nutella in between two slices of bread. In my defense, I serve them multigrain or wheat bread, so at least, it’s not like they’re eating dessert. Although I am happy when someone has some left over on their plate, because I eat it.”
Tiffani, mom of 1
“I microwave those breakfast sandwiches. Sometimes, my child eats the top part with the egg and cheese, and other days, he eats the bottom part, with the sausage. It’s always interesting to see which part he’ll eat.”
Kim, mom of 2
“McD’s drive-thru! I have a very slow-to-rise child, and when I’m rushing, a hash brown is the best breakfast. Don’t judge me.”
Marissa, mom of 3
“My kids love eggs, so I’ll scramble up a few while they’re getting ready for school. And by getting ready for school, I mean fighting with each other.”
Jamie, mom of 3
“During the week, it’s whatever is frozen and fast. But on the weekends, when there’s more time, I break out my waffle maker and we make homemade waffles from scratch. The kids love it, because they know even just seeing the waffle maker, that it’s our time to go slow and relax.”
Dana, mom of 1
“I don’t know why, but my toddler loves soup in the mornings. He’s big into chicken noodle, so I serve him about a cup of it. And yes, as you can imagine, it takes forever for him to eat it. But he’s so happy with his soup and he hums while he’s eating it, so I try not to rush him.”
Nicki, mom of 2
“We have bagels everyday, and there’s a reason for it. Unlike toast, which is easy to break, a bagel is more sturdy, and so if we have to leave the house to go to school and he’s still eating, he can eat the bagel in the car and I don’t have to worry about it breaking in the back seat.”
Natalie, mom of 4
“Now that it’s starting to get cooler, we’ve been eating more oatmeal. Apart from being super healthy, it’s also versatile in that you can really add in any toppings. Sometimes my kids eat it with fruit, or syrup. When I ran out of toppings, they just ate it plain, and that was shocking.”
Courtney, mom of 2
“I just serve cereal. I bet that’s not as exciting as some of the other answers you’ll get. But they eat and I know that their bellies are full when they go to school, so that’s the goal for me.”
Katherine, mom of 1
“For some reason, my kid refuses to chew in the mornings, so I make her a smoothie. I blend in a bunch of fruits, yogurt, and almond milk, and she loves it. I can’t sneak in other healthy things, like kale, because she’s always watching me while I put the ingredients in the blender.”
Lauren, mom of 6
“My kids eat breakfast at school, but I do give them a hot chocolate in the morning. It makes me feel good to know that they have something in their stomach as they head off to school for the day.”
Hannah, mom of 1
“My kid only eats granola bars in the morning. I wish he would eat something more substantive, but it’s a battle that I don’t feel like dealing with every day.”
Charlotte, mom of 1
“It’s the craziest thing, but my child likes having leftovers from the night before for breakfast. So come the morning, he might be eating leftover lasagna or chicken parm. And yes, he has a great appetite.”
Diana, mom of 1
“My daughter loves eating crackers with cheese. But I have to slice the cheese up right before she’s about to eat it, because if it becomes even the slightest bit hard, she’ll push it away and cry.”
Mary Ann, mom of 3
My kids love any kind of bread in the morning, so biscuits, waffles, toast, bagels are right up her alley. They just discovered English muffins and she’s obsessed with them. It’s gotta be all those nooks and crannies.”
Cheryl, mom of 1
“My child eats pancakes with syrup. But by syrup, I mean swimming in syrup. So it’s more like syrup with pancakes than the other way around."
Kelley, mom of 1
“She loves hard boiled eggs and she insists on peeling them herself. When she’s done, she’s left with very little egg, though, so I have to boil a few so that I know she got enough food."
Kara Hoerr, RDN, nutritionist
Melissa Kathryn, certified holistic nutritionist
Dr. Olivia Audrey, M.D., board certified naturopathic doctor and wellness expert
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