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by Your Child Nutrition Expert Jill Castle

The Easiest Way to Serve Breakfast to Kids

January 16, 2013 | In: Feeding Kids, Healthy Meals

Breakfast has become 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.

Take the 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, awakening 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 had to change.

Because, they had changed.

As children grow, their schedules, time demands, and interest in breakfast can dictate the success of this important meal. But it doesn’t have to.

I have found the easiest approach is the authoritative approach. Similar to the Dinner Bar (choosing the items for the meal, prepping and laying them out, then letting kids pick and choose their own combinations) or family-style meals, I decide the meal items (what they are eating), and lay them out on the counter or table and let them 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!). But frequently they pick and choose different items based on their preferences and appetite.

The simplicity of placing food options on the table allows me to optimize variety and get as many food groups out there as possible, while allowing the kids to be in charge of their appetite and preferences.

I think it’s a perfect way to optimize choice and control when it comes to feeding children, helping 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 food items every day. Offer one familiar, liked item, but change up the rest. If your child shies away from unfamiliar foods, this approach exposes him to new foods without pressuring him to eat them.

I think this is one of the easiest ways to feed breakfast to busy kids—easy on the parents, and easy on the kids.

How do you handle breakfast on busy mornings?


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7 Responses to The Easiest Way to Serve Breakfast to Kids

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Starr

January 16th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I see you have organic milk. Have you written any posts on organic vs conventional milk?

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Jill

January 16th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Not yet, but we cover that in the book, Fearless Feeding, due out in April (you can pre-order at Amazon.com). Basically, all milk, I feel, is safe to drink. The choice is a personal one–based on many factors.

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chere

January 17th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I love your breakfast bar where everyone wins..the kids, their nutriton and you the mom!

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Jill

January 18th, 2013 at 11:16 am

Me too!

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  Stick-to-Your-Ribs Muffins by Just the Right Byte

February 21st, 2013 at 11:35 am

[...] and swim parent, Amy P. I know how important breakfast is for any child and am always looking for a quick grab-n-go breakfast, especially for my athletes. These are perfect and they are a good stand-in for a snack [...]

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Katie @ Mom's Kitchen Handbook

February 22nd, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I’ve witnessed this exact shift in our breakfast habits as well…also because the kids are older, have different schedules, and want more control over their food choices. Thanks for the tips.

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Jill

February 23rd, 2013 at 9:39 am

Yes, they keep us on our toes!

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