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How to Get Your Preschooler to Eat Breakfast

October 7th, 2016

Including children in breakfast preparation can encourage healthy eating habits.

How often do we hear “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? We understand that a healthy breakfast can help prepare our brains and bodies for the day, but getting that through to a preschooler is easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you encourage healthy breakfast eating habits without the struggle. 

  • Wake them up earlier. Some kids, like some adults, aren’t hungry when they first wake up in the morning. Wake them up 15-20 minutes earlier and save breakfast for last so they can build up their appetites. Be sure to adjust bedtime accordingly so they don’t miss out on valuable sleep time!
  • Prep. Save time in the morning by prepping anything you can ahead of time. Cut fruit, freeze extra pancakes or waffles, hard boil eggs, or bag and freeze smoothie ingredients. Check out these 11 make-ahead breakfast recipes kids will love for some fun and easy make ahead breakfast ideas.
  • Keep it simple. When all else fails, stick to the basics. Fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc. Even dry cereal or a granola bar in the car on the way to school is better than no breakfast at all.
  • Don’t force it. Kids can be stubborn. Trying to force them to eat something they don’t like (even if they liked it yesterday) could end up ina power struggle that will start everyone’s day off on the wrong foot. Wasting time fighting over food can easily lead to no breakfast at all.
  • Involve them. Give them a couple healthy options and let them decide what they’d like to eat. Let them help with preparation as much as possible.
  • Reward them. Let them choose a special weekend breakfast as a reward for eating healthy breakfasts all week. Top chocolate chip pancakes or French toast with some fresh fruit to sneak in some nutrition.
  • Mix it up. Nobody wants to eat the same thing day in and day out. Keep their favorites, but try to offer different options every once in a while.
  • Set a good example. Allow time in the mornings to sit down to eat together. Not only will a family breakfast encourage healthy eating habits, this is also a great time to talk about goals for the day and discuss concerns.

Remember, kids learn by example. As parents, it’s up to us to teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle—a lesson they will carry throughout their lives.

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