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Moms Talk: What Do You Feed Your Child(ren) for Breakfast?

Perhaps what they eat can help determine how well they perform in school during mornings.

Although I'm not personally a fan of a big breakfast, when it comes to my children, I've always paid attention to that old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

After all, breakfast might be the meal where we have the most control over what they eat. Do we REALLY know what they'll finish/swap or purchase with that school lunch we pack or that lunch money we give them each day?

As for dinner, it's sometimes on the run, and some kids are very persnickity anyway about what they will, or won't, eat. Vegetables can do a quick disappearing act, but they don't always end up in the kid's mouth. Older kids can simply disappear if they don't like what's being served.

But breakfast often presents a fairly consistent choice, and we know what they like. Full disclosure here, I'm one of those people who lose momentum if I don't have some sort of protein fix by late morning, so I've always made sure that they have a nutritious first meal of the day — especially before they head to school.

I'm big on eggs, although that gets a bit monotonous. (Not that the younger ones in this house seem to care.)

There are lots of variations I've picked up along the way — breakfast burritos with eggs, beans and various Mexican ingredients; eggs made with cheese, Hot Pockets (okay, they're quick in the morning) and other various egg-based meals.

Since we live in bagel territory, I sometimes serve bagels (preferably, not just white), either with cream cheese, or cheese melted on the bagel. Even peanut butter (real) on crackers (real) is a quick protein fix!

However, there's no rule that breakfast MUST be breakfast food. I had a Hawaiian friend with whom I sometimes shared a bowl of soup while our (then little) children played in the morning. Hey, it's hot and nutritious.

Apparently, that was nothing new for me. When I was little, my mother said I used to ask for chicken noodle soup for breakfast. She complied. After all, there are worse choices for breakfast.

So what do you serve (if you serve) or leave around for your kids to eat in the morning? What do little kids like? Is there an age where you stop serving breakfast, and let your kids fend for themselves?

BTW, one of my favorite rituals is a nice weekend breakfast for all of us...before they head off for pizza, Burger King or shared snacks. Then I feel less guilty if I refuse to cook dinner on the weekend. For those of my readers who may have also lived on Long Island at one point — it DID seem that cooking on a Saturday night was frowned upon by the local population, right?

Linda Sadlouskos February 01, 2012 at 10:42 PM
CT, it sounds like you have a recipe for making healthy pancakes — a favorite of kids. What's a little syrup if you can get your child to eat a full breakfast before school? What else do some people add to standard pancakes to add to their nutritional value? Fruit, nuts, powdered milk?
Andi Williams February 02, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I love giving my kids oatmeal in the winter - you can buy hte reduced sugar high fiber stuff and it's pretty good for them and I feel like I am sending them out with something good in their bellies to make it through to lunch. Two of my three kids will also eat eggs so I oftern make them scrambled or poached eggs on wholewheat toast. Hey, listen, don't mean to sound like the perfect mother or anything - trust me, they sometimes eat cereal (not the really high sugar, unhealthy ones) before they get kicked out the door. However, there's one thing I will defintely NOT let them eat on a school morning and that's pancakes with syrup - way too much sugar that will bring on the sugar crash mid morning and there's just no nutritional value. Weekends though... well, that's another matter!!
Prachi Jain February 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
My kids love to eat breakfast . . . at least till now. A cup of warm milk with everything bagel and cream cheese, or waffles with maple syrup, (ya, the syrup bothers me too much just like the fruit loops that my daughter loves, I am making her understand that high fructose corn syrup is not healthy) or pancakes with half wheat flour and half plain flour. Would love to introduce fruit in the morning but that does not even work for me, how can I coax them to eat it? But all said and done, we never miss breakfast.
Colleen Epple Pine February 02, 2012 at 03:15 PM
They say that if you eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, you will live a royally healthy life! Clearly….no royalty over here! But one thing that always works is asking the kids in the evening what they would like to eat for breakfast in the morning. This doesn’t even give them the chance to think “I don’t want to eat anything,” which is a typical morning response. If they commit to the thought of breakfast the night before, they are ready to follow through in the A.M. We set out vitamins, “to-go” cups for juice or hot cocoa for cold days, and even the frying pan is waiting on the stove top to greet the eggs. Then, come morning, we’re set to scramble or whip up the breakfast of choice. A little disclaimer here…I have to applaud so many of the Dads out there (like my husband) who rise and shine by making the morning breakfast. My husband is the master chef of things we’ve come to know and love called “egg surprise” and “breakfast cookies”. Even now, when our college girl comes home for a visit, she asks Dad to make “egg surprise” for breakfast...or for any meal for that matter.
Allan M Lees March 26, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Kids consume far too much sugar and far too many carbohydrates, which is part of the reason why more than 12 million school-age children in the USA are now on psychoactive drugs (Ritalin, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) to calm them down - ADHD is the new catch-all diagnosis but the reality is that the "sugar rollercoaster" is largely to blame. Fruits, nuts, and whole grains can be fantastically enjoyable - there's absolutely no need for high-fructose syrups, soft drinks, and other sugar-heavy stuff. Kids have become conditioned by the huge food companies to want this stuff, but it is killing them. Why make some executive even richer at the expense of your childrens' health? We absolutely do not need any of the junk food that unfortunately litters most people's larders. Cereals, syrups, pastries... it's all killing our kids. Time to stop. Nuts, grains, and fruits are what our bodies require. No one gets Type II diabetes from real food, but 20% of American kids under the age of 18 will have this disease by 2020 because of the rubbish we're pouring down their throats.

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