Make sure your kids get the nourishment they need in the morning. All dietitian-approved, these are the best easy, healthy breakfast ideas for kids.
While breakfast is important for all ages, it truly is the most important meal of the day for kids and teens.
Getting adequate nutrition during childhood and adolescence is essential for growth and development – including bone and brain health.
In fact, studies have shown that our diets as kids greatly impacts our mental and physical health as adults.
And breakfast in particular has been linked with key benefits for kids.
Research suggests that kids who eat breakfast have the following advantages:
In order for our brains to function properly, they need energy.
And this energy is called glucose, which is another word for sugar that our bodies break down when they eat foods containing carbs (like fruits and whole grains).
What’s super interesting is that research shows kids’ brains benefit much more from breakfast than adults do.
And the reason for this is that their brains require more energy as they are still growing and developing.
Here are some key nutrients to make sure your kid is getting:
Of course, each age group is different in the amount and type of nutrients they need, foods they’ll tolerate, and lifestyle factors.
In this article you’ll find the best easy, healthy breakfast ideas for toddlers, school-aged kids, and teens.
The toddler years can be an exciting and frustrating time, especially when it comes to breakfast.
One one hand, your toddler is exploring new tastes and textures as they can more easily feed themselves. But on the other, preschool-aged kids can also be picky eaters.
As your toddler will be going through growth spurts, don’t be surprised if one morning they gobble up their breakfast and then barely touch their food the next.
As a result, while you can encourage them to take one more bite, it’s best to let them eat based on their internal hunger cues.
At this age, breakfast is a great time to let your kid explore different types of foods by setting out smaller portions of a variety of ingredients.
You can also play around with different colors and textures to keep your toddler engaged.
Key nutrients at this stage include calcium, vitamin D, and fiber.
Smoothies can be a fun, colorful way to get your toddler to eat more fruits and veggies.
Just make sure to keep the amount of added sugars low by using real fruit (rather than fruit juices) and unsweetened yogurt/dairy products.
Healthy smoothie recipes for toddlers:
Breads and muffins are perfect for sneaking more vegetables and fiber into your toddler’s diet.
To help balance out the meal, serve a muffin (or a half muffin) with some chopped fruit or veggies cut into finger-food-friendly pieces.
You can also spread nut butter or Greek yogurt over the bread for extra nutrition.
Or for more protein, add a side of homemade turkey sausage.
Healthy muffin and quick bread recipes for toddlers:
While it can get messy, letting your toddler assemble her/his breakfast is a great way to get them used to new flavor and texture combinations.
Simply cut up the ingredients beforehand and add a spread of choice (such as avocado, nut butter, sunflower butter, hummus, or cream cheese) then let them add their own toppings.
Healthy toast and rice cake ideas for toddlers:
Pancakes and waffles are enjoyable at any age.
To make them more toddler-friendly, simply make them into smaller portions and serve the maple syrup on the side so that they can tear the pancake or waffle apart with their fingers.
While you can use maple syrup, also try other toppings like nut butters, low sugar jams, or frozen fruit that’s been heated up on the stove.
Healthy pancake and waffle recipes for toddlers:
Eggs are not only packed with protein, but they also contain important vitamins and minerals like selenium and vitamin D.
While scrambled eggs are almost always a hit, making mini egg cups or mini breakfast sandwiches can make eggs easier for little fingers to grab hold of.
Healthy egg recipes for toddlers:
Note: If you have any concerns about your toddler’s eating habits or if they aren’t gaining weight appropriately, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dietitian who can make personalized recommendations based on your child’s specific needs!
For school-aged kids, breakfast is key for helping them do better in school and have the energy they need as they become more active with sports or gym class.
Breakfast is also an important time to help educate your kids about nutrition and how to make healthy options. After all, when they’re in school, they now have more control over their food choices.
To keep your school-aged kid full and energized all morning long, make sure they have a breakfast that’s high in protein and fiber.
Eggs are more than just protein. They’re also excellent sources of two important antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin.
These antioxidants promote eye health, and higher levels of them have been associated with improved performance in school-aged kids.
Healthy breakfast sandwich recipes for kids:
To make breakfast sandwiches even easier, try baking a muffin-tray full of eggs in the oven.
Mornings can be busy for the whole family.
To make sure that you all get the nutrition you need while still being on time for school and work, I recommend making one or two breakfast casseroles on Sunday to reheat throughout the week.
Just make sure to choose casseroles that are high in fiber and low in added sugars. Ideally they should also provide a decent amount of protein and some healthy fats as well.
Healthy make ahead breakfast casseroles perfect for back to school:
Cookies? For breakfast? Why not!
Some kids just don’t like eating a lot for breakfast. So rather than trying to fight it, I recommend leaning in by whipping up a batch of breakfast cookies.
Similar to muffin, breakfast cookies allow you to sneak in fiber and fruit or veggies into your kiddo before they head off to school.
Healthy breakfast cookies for kids:
Pancakes don’t have to be just for weekend mornings. In fact, you can make a batch of pancakes (or waffles) to store in the freezer and then reheat in the toaster for a quick school day breakfast.
But don’t go for just any pancake recipe. Look for recipes that will still give your kid the protein, fiber, and micronutrients that they need for their day.
Healthy high protein pancake recipes for kids:
A classic for a reason, yogurt parfaits are quick to assemble and allow for variations in ingredients depending on each kid’s individual preferences.
However, yogurt parfaits can quickly go from healthy breakfast choice to dessert.
Make sure to use an unsweetened (or low sugar) Greek or Icelandic-style yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit rather than syrupy fruit “topping”, and a low-sugar homemade or store-bought granola.
Healthy yogurt parfait and granola recipes for kids:
Despite research showing how important breakfast is for brain development and learning in teens, breakfast is the most commonly skipped meal in this age group.
From working in nutrition research at Children’s Hospital, I can tell you that there’s one big reason why teens tend to skip breakfast: time.
Whether they have sports practice in the morning, were up late at night studying (or playing video games), or simply love to sleep, very few teens prioritize waking up early enough to eat a good, healthy breakfast.
So rather than fighting the uphill battle of getting them to wake up earlier (likely never going to happen), the best solution is to meal prep healthy grab-and-go breakfast options.
Packed with fiber from the oats and high in calcium from milk and yogurt, overnight oats are the perfect make-ahead breakfast option.
Depending on your teen’s nutrition needs and preferences, you can easily adjust the ingredients.
Have a student athlete that needs extra calories and protein? Add a scoop of protein powder, nut butter, or a scoop of nuts and seeds.
Healthy overnight oat recipes to get you started:
Essentially single-serving frittata, egg and vegetable muffins are a convenient way to get protein and vegetables into your teen’s morning meal.
To make them more filling and add even more fiber, send you teen out the door with two of these muffins and a piece of fruit.
Healthy egg breakfast muffin recipes to get you started:
Some teens simply don’t like eating much in the morning. So rather than sending them off with a breakfast they won’t eat, make a batch or two of homemade protein or energy bars.
This way they’ll still get the protein, carbs, and healthy fats they need to power through their morning.
Healthy homemade protein bar recipes:
As mentioned earlier, eggs are an incredibly healthy breakfast option. And putting eggs in a burrito is an easy way to also get some veggies in.
Store-bought and fast food breakfast burritos are typically loaded with sodium and unhealthy fats.
So instead, I like to make a few batches of homemade ones that can be easily stored in the freezer and then reheated in the microwave.
Healthy freezer-friendly breakfast burrito recipes
For teens that prefer to drink their breakfast, smoothies — especially green smoothies — can be a fantastic option.
By using ingredients like milk (or a milk alternative), frozen fruit, and spinach, you can rest easy knowing your teenager is getting the macro and micronutrients that their brains and bones need in order to grow.
Healthy green smoothie recipes for teens:
For more tips on how to build a healthy smoothie, read my go-to guide here!
Looking for more nutrition information on breakfast or healthy ingredients? Be sure to check out my Nutrition page!
Disclaimer: This information is meant simply for educational purposes and should not be mistaken for personalized nutrition advice. It’s always important to talk with your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.
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