Every child should start the day with breakfast

Woman pouring coffee into cups while her family is having breakfast

By KRISTINA LAKENMACHER

Clinical Dietician

Texas Children’s Hospital

Knowing breakfast is the most important meal of the day doesn’t exactly solve the challenge of feeding a resistant breakfast-eater. When it’s time to return to school and shift schedules, this might feel like even more of a morning battle.

Kids and teenagers who eat breakfast tend to maintain sharper focus, increased energy, regulated appetite and a stronger immune system during the day. Without breakfast, the body doesn’t get the start it needs to function at its fullest potential.

When choosing breakfast for your child, keep in mind these nutrients: protein, fiber and fats. Protein and fats help keep us full, regulate our blood sugar and fuel our bodies until our next meal or snack. Fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help with fullness and promote healthy digestion, too.

Breakfast is also a great opportunity to incorporate dairy, which provides calcium to build strong bones. For kids and teenagers, the recommendation for milk or yogurt consumption is 2-3 cups per day.

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Fiber and whole grains – Oatmeal, whole grain cereals, whole wheat bread, tortillas, fruits and vegetables (look for varieties with 5 grams of fiber or more and less than 10 grams of sugar)
  • Protein and fats – Milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, beans, deli ham, turkey sausage, bacon, avocado and nut butters

TIPS TO CONSIDER:

  • Make breakfast ahead of time and freeze individually
  • Wake up 5-10 minutes earlier to make time for breakfast
  • Choose grab-and-go items

BREAKFAST IDEAS:

  • Whole grain frozen waffles topped with peanut butter and fruit
  • Greek yogurt mixed with berries and whole grain cereal
  • Whole wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, a hard-boiled egg and fruit
  • Plain oatmeal mixed with banana and peanut butter
  • Vegetable and cheese omelet with turkey sausage, whole wheat toast and fruit