Let’s face it–toddlers can be quite picky (understatement of the year). “Why is there cereal in my cereal bowl?!” my three-year-old once cried, throwing her bowl overboard. So how to keep your baby fed and happy, while keeping your sanity? We recommend kicking off the day by trying these fast-and-simple breakfast recipes that your toddler will hopefully love. Or, at least, not knock off the table.
First Off: Why the Heck is Breakfast So Important for Toddlers?
Sometimes, the last thing you feel like doing is putting together a breakfast that your toddler may reject, especially if you’ve had a sleepless night with a teething little one and/or you’re getting ready for work. So remind yourself that kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier in general and are more likely to be physically active, which leaders to healthier lifelong habits. In fact, getting them into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast now can have myriad long-term benefits, as studies have shown that children who eat breakfast have higher test scores, retain information better and tend to have more focus than those who do not. Plus, skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless or irritable…and no parent needs a toddler who’s even more restless and moody. (Thank goodness they’re so cute.)
So, What Are These Good Breakfast Ideas?
#1 – Applesauce Oatmeal
If regular oatmeal is too bland for your toddler, add some low-sugar sweetness by stirring a few spoonfuls of applesauce into old-fashioned oats or instant oats. So then, in addition to flavor, the oatmeal will also contain Vitamin C. For toddlers who are old enough, you can also grate in fresh apple and/or add raisins. Be sure to check out organic oatmeal options. Although organic and conventional oats have the same nutritional information, there is a chance organic oats could be safer to consume because they are not produced with chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
#2 – Healthy Toddler Smoothie (with Veggies)
Who doesn’t love smoothies for healthy breakfasts? Well, toddlers sometimes, but if you introduce them early and regularly, they are more likely to embrace them from an early age. And, with convenience being paramount for parents, it’s great that you can keep almost all of the ingredients on-hand in the freezer or pantry.
You can easily customize yummy smoothies for your toddler by starting with one simple recipe, then adjusting based on which fruit and veggies they seem to prefer.
1 cup milk
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
1/2-cup fresh or frozen fruit (options include blueberries, strawberries or mango)
1/2-cup veggies (options include kale, spinach, fresh or frozen chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen sliced zucchini, fresh or frozen sliced summer squash, roasted sweet potato, roasted butternut squash)
Pick one-to-two optional add-ins:1 teaspoon hemp seeds, chia seeds, or ground flaxseed; 1 tablespoon sun butter; 2 tablespoons avocado; 1-2 teaspoons cocoa powder; 1-2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
Add chosen ingredients to a blender, then blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and adding more liquid, if still too thick. Serve to your (hopefully excited) toddler immediately. Do not hesitate to eat leftovers. You deserve it.
#3 – Whole grain pancakes or waffles
Obviously, the easiest way to make pancakes or waffles for your toddler is with a packaged mix, such as this mix tailored for little ones, which has more nutritional value than regular pancake mixes. It is on the blander side, so make it more yummy by substituting some of the water for purée. Kids love it with apple and/or pumpkin puree, as well as a dash of cinnamon.
Just sure to cut them in the right size for your child – older babies/toddlers can eat them as small pieces, strips, or whole using their hands, encouraging their feeling of independence.
#4 – Toddler-friendly yogurt parfait
Shake up your breakfast routine with a kid-friendly (and parent-friendly, because it’s so simple to make) yogurt parfait. Mix-and-match the ingredients for tasty combinations that yield a nutritious and balanced breakfast.
It seriously doesn’t get much easier: Place half of a cup of yogurt into a small container or bowl. Top with your choice of fruit, such as mangoes, berries or applesauce. Then top that off with the rest of the yogurt. Finish with a crunchy topping of your toddler’s choice: granola; mini animal crackers; low-sugar cereal; or broken graham crackers. For best results when making ahead, add the crunchy toppings right before serving it to your little one.
#5 – Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are a top source of protein for children, and are easy to make and serve — especially when hard-boiled! Just boil the eggs in water for 12 minutes (that’s always been the magic number for us), then store in cold water (which makes them easier to peel).