Have you ever been stuck for new breakfast ideas for your child? At a loss for new ideas? Easy breakfast food ideas that are quick, healthy and yummy?
You’re not alone. Many parents struggle with early morning ideas!
As a young, working pediatric nutritionist, I too struggled with trying to find easy breakfast ideas for my toddlers and older kids! Keeping food variety front and center isn’t easy when you’re a busy mom.
In this article, I’ve got 27 breakfast ideas for toddlers that will keep food variety front and center, and flavor and nutrition a high priority.
While this article is targeted towards breakfast ideas for toddlers, you can use these ideas and expand upon them. Also, these breakfast food ideas for older kids and teens will be useful to add to the mix.
Why is Breakfast for Toddlers Important?
After a full night of sleep, toddlers wake up with an empty tummy. They’ve fasted overnight for several hours.
Many toddlers are hungry and ready to eat first thing in the morning. They grab their cup of milk and suck it down, buying mom and dad a little time before they have to think about what to make for breakfast.
Breakfast is the first opportunity of the day to ensure your toddler is getting the variety of nutrients and enough calories to grow and develop well.
Remember, toddlers have little tummies. They need to eat frequently throughout the day to match their needs.
[If your toddler won’t eat, read my post about the steps you can take to help your toddler eat.]
What Should You Make for Breakfast?
I’ve met so many parents who get trapped in the cycle of feeding their toddler the same food for breakfast day in and day out.
As a result, they get uninspired, but worse, their toddler does, too.
Is this you?
Susan was feeding her little guy, Dean, yogurt, fruit and toast nearly every morning. Although there was nothing wrong with this food combination, Dean was getting bored.
He began to refuse to eat, or would just nibble and want more milk.
This worried Susan. As you know, fear and worry can send parents like Susan down the wrong feeding path.
Not only this, she was missing out on an opportunity to bring more nutrition and food variety to the table.
[Is your feeding style helping or hurting?]
What Toddlers Should Eat for Breakfast
When you think about what to make for breakfast, you should have three goals in mind:
- Include at least three of the five food groups (dairy/non-dairy, protein, fruit, vegetables, grains)
- Change up the composition of the meal most days (rotate different food groups and vary the items within food groups)
- Introduce new food items (bring new flavors, spices, textures and foods to the table)
Keeping these goals in mind will help you think of innovative, nutritious and easy breakfast ideas for your toddler. Not only that, you’ll introduce an element of surprise, keeping your toddler interested and guessing about what delicious breakfast food ideas are appearing next.
How Do I Get My Picky Toddler to Eat?
Feeding the toddler can be an exercise in frustration, but it doesn’t have to be! Your toddler may challenge you with picky eating, limited self-feeding skills, or loving a food so much he wants to eat it everyday.
These are mostly toddler stages of development, but don’t let them derail you.
Now is the time to embrace the challenges of feeding the toddler!
I’ve got some good news:
Your Toddler Can Eat Just about Anything
The sky is the limit in terms of what you can offer. If your toddler is free of food allergies, you can offer the foods your family eats, as long as you minimize the risk of choking and contamination.
Little Bellies & High Nutrient Needs
Make sure you focus on food variety and high nutrient content. In other words, choose real fruit over fruit chews and whole grain options over refined ones. Steer clear of offering the same foods over and over. You’ll get trapped!
The Learning Curve is Steep
You’re both on a learning curve–you and your toddler. You are learning about your child’s responses to food and eating, and he is learning about food itself.
Be patient and tolerant. When anyone is learning something new, mistakes will be made along the way.
It’s a Messy Job
Feeding your toddler will be messy. She is learning to eat. Getting messy allows all the sensations of food: smell, texture, taste and more. When spaghetti sauce is resting in your nose, you really get to smell it!
Rejection is Not Personal
If your toddler refuses to eat his meal, it’s not an attack on you or your cooking skills. Maybe she isn’t hungry. Maybe she didn’t like a particular food. Or maybe she’s tired and not up for eating at the moment. Don’t let the ups and downs of feeding a toddler hurt, frustrate or annoy you too much!
Focus on Exposure and Repetition
These are the keys to helping your child learn to like all kinds of food. Just like your child will never appreciate a Broadway play if he never sees one, the same is true for food.
You are in charge of exposing your toddler to a variety of food–more than once or twice. Toddlers and children, in general, may need between 8 and 15 food exposures before they learn to like a food. And some kids need much more.
Case in point: I was in college before I became a lover of broccoli and my mother served it throughout my childhood.
My workbook, Try New Food can help you with all of this. Try New Food takes you through the steps to introduce new foods to your child with proven strategies including food chaining, the right mindset, and positive feeding approaches so that you don’t make eating worse.
27 Toddler Breakfast Ideas
Don’t give up on yourself, or your toddler. When it comes to meal time, use my 27 Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers handout to help you stay inspired each week, rotate meal ideas, and spur new breakfast ideas to add to the list.
If you’d like some easy breakfast recipes, check out the following:
Scones and Muffin Recipes
What are your toddler’s favorite breakfasts? For more toddler meal ideas, check out these finger foods all little eaters should try.
*******P.S. For a printable copy of this, click on the link below***********
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: January 2, 2019
Updated on: September 20, 2019