Two commons questions we are asked is “what if I do not feel like breakfast?” and “what should I do if my child doesn’t want to eat breakfast?” Today we are sharing suggestions to reduce any breakfast battles in your home and some yummy recipes too!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Our body has gone into “fasting mode” over night and slowly uses glycogen stores from our liver for energy to stay alive. Glycogen stores are like starch in the body…stored glucose. Our brain and central nervous system can only run on glucose so we need to replenish the body when we wake up. If we wait too long to eat, then the body will go after our muscles to glean the glucose backbone of body proteins. We don’t want that! We work too hard to build muscle to use it that way! And for our children, we want their brains fed and ready for busy days of playing, learning, and growing. It is important that we, as parents, model making breakfast a priority for ourselves and our children.
Common questions/comments on this topic are:
- I feel sick if I eat in the morning.
- I am not hungry in the morning.
- My children will not eat breakfast.
- We do not have time for breakfast at our house.
- I find breakfast food boring!
Any of these sound familiar? Here are a few thoughts and tips for each one.
- I feel sick if I eat in the morning. This is likely due to the fact that your body is not reacting well to coming out of fasting mode. Try to eat at least something…even if small, and then eat a more complete meal as soon as possible after that.
- I am not hungry in the morning. Hunger can present itself in different ways. In the morning you may not “feel” hungry, but that does not mean that your body does not need nourishment. As I mentioned above, try to have at least a little something. If you wait too long to eat, you are more likely to overeat later in the day.
- My children will not eat breakfast. Having children sit down for breakfast is a routine that can be encouraged by parents just like any routine. The earlier you model this and create it to be a habit for you and your children, the better. If you have older children that refuse, then having a “grab and go” option for them is better than nothing. For example, a smoothie in a “to go” container, a whole grain wrap with almond butter and sliced apples or peanut butter and banana, or overnight oats that can be eaten on the run.
- We do not have time for breakfast at our house. Mornings can be a very busy time in homes…especially with small children. As with anything, making time is the key. This means planning ahead and prioritizing. Setting our alarms at a time that allows for breakfast oriented activities is important. If you want to plan ahead, you could make pancakes or waffles the day before and then pop them in the toaster in the morning. If you like cereal, you can pre-pour it the night before and just add milk and fruit in the morning. I always pour our kids milks into their cups and store them in the fridge that way overnight so those are ready right away no matter what. I have a friend who makes sure that water is in the kettle and her tea is portioned and ready so all she has to do is turn the kettle on and pour water….that is organization!!! For more information on strategies we use and breakfast ideas for kids, you can check our this post.
- I find breakfast food boring! It is so true that toast and cereal can become boring and old super quick! Some people love the idea of an easy breakfast that doesn’t take too much brain work or time and that is great. Others like to have variety. Below are a few ways that you can keep breakfast interesting.
- Make energy bites that provide calorie and nutrient density in a few bites.
- Try typical weekend breakfast ideas on week days: waffles, pancakes, French toast and egg bites don’t have to wait for Saturday and Sunday. They can be a quick and easy option on a week day if prep is done ahead of time. You can make extra on the weekend and just pop them in the toaster oven on a weekday. For omelettes, you can mix everything together the night before and all you need to do is take a few minutes to cook them. Great options to add to an egg are diced peppers, tomatoes, and cheese, then add avocado once it is ready. Yum! Pair with some whole grain toast or English muffin and you are good to go!
- Change up your fruit…you could serve cereal or toast with peanut butter everyday and still keep variety with a great rotation of fruit on top or on the side.
- Try a homemade muffin (this is one of our faves) and smoothies with a variation in smoothie and muffin flavours.
- Try a breakfast picnic to switch things up…