Breakfast was a juggling act in my house. Yes, I know it’s the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t ease the difficulty of nourishing four children on different schedules. Or four kids with different breakfast ideas.
Take our average school day. One child leaves at 6:45 am, two at 7:05 am and the last one at 7:55 am. I am up and down the stairs, waking children, checking their schedules, and reminding them of the daily agenda.
And…I admit… taking a breakfast order.
What happened to one meal for everyone?
Weekends are no better. Swim practice at 5 am and 8 am; a teen going to work at 10 am and countless other competitions, meets and travel sports commitments.
Breakfast had morphed into a “catch as catch can” circus rather than the “sit together and eat the same meal” it once was when the kids were younger.
I realized our breakfast system needed to change.
Because, let’s face it, the kids and their schedules had changed.
Need An Easy Way to Serve Breakfast Food?
I don’t know about you, but I need easy and fast when it comes to serving breakfast food to my kids. Bet you feel the same way.
I also want easy, healthy breakfast ideas that get my kids energized for the day.
The easiest approach is the authoritative approach.
Similar to the Dinner Bar (parents choose the items for the meal, prep and laying them out, then let kids pick and choose their own combinations) or family-style meals, I decide the meal items (what they are eating).
Then, I lay them out on the counter or table. They choose which foods they will eat and how much.
Sometimes, the kids all eat the same thing. This morning, for example, everyone ate the cinnamon roll bread. (I think that was because it was an entirely new item in the house!).
Frequently, however, my kids pick and choose different items based on their preferences and appetite.
Healthy Breakfast for Kids
What I love about this method is this: You get to determine the breakfast options. When you place place breakfast food on a table or the kitchen counter, it sends the message of abundance and choice, something that is psychologically positive for kids.
The simplicity of placing healthy food options on the table allows you to optimize variety and get as many food groups out there as possible. Your kids get to be in charge of their appetite, amounts of food, and honor their food preferences.
Build Autonomy at Breakfast
I think it’s a perfect way to optimize choice (and keep the Division of Responsibility aligned) when it comes to feeding your child. This can help them do better with eating.
If your child chooses the same thing to eat every day, you can curtail that by making sure you don’t get stuck in the rut of offering the same breakfast food items every day.
Offer one familiar, liked item, but change up the rest of the breakfast foods.
If your child shies away from new or unfamiliar foods, this approach will expose him to new foods without pressuring him to eat them.
I think this is an easy way to serve breakfast food to kids—easy on you, and easy on your child.
How do you handle breakfast on busy mornings?
Got a young athlete? You may enjoy my breakfast recipe book! You can find it here.
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: July 26, 2017
Updated on: May 19, 2019