Chances are your preschooler has eaten chocolate doughnuts, Cap’n Crunch, or even caramel popcorn for breakfast. Getting him to eat oatmeal or scrambled eggs isn’t always easy, especially when you’re in a hurry to get him to school. But your child does want to eat—and what he puts in his mouth depends on the options you give him. “By the time they start their day, most preschoolers have gone at least twelve hours without food,” says Ann Douglas, author of Mealtime Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler. Here, quick and easy ideas aplenty that make eating a nutritious breakfast fun.
Think whole—whole grains and whole fruits. These breakfasts will pump your preschooler full of nutrients that provide lasting energy and promote healthy weight.
Good news, moms! Instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain and has all the health benefits of steel-cut and old-fashioned varieties—it’s high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and also lowers the risk of heart disease. Make this in a jiffy: mix 1/4 cup one-minute oats or one packet instant oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or coconut flakes. Let your preschooler choose the fruits so she feels like she has control over her breakfast. “I make this five times a week for my kids,” says Kelly Eldridge, a mom
Lots of fiber combined with lots of protein is filling and can provide energy for up to four hours. “When my son started preschool, he was hungry before lunch, so I pumped up the protein,” says San Francisco mom Patty Royall. “I make him a burrito with a whole wheat tortilla rich in fiber (at least 5 grams), organic cheese, and a soy sausage link.”
“Kids who love carrots and dip might like to dip apples or strawberries into yogurt,” says Rose Dunnington, author of Big Snacks, Little Meals. Cut fruit into small chunks and have your child dip them into 1/4 cup plain yogurt. Serve with a side of protein, like a small handful of nuts or a couple of slices of turkey bacon.