What to Feed the Reluctant Breakfast Eater and 9 Quick Options to Mix and Match

back to school breakfast

The school year is fast-approaching for my little family, and may already be in session for yours. With this change of seasons comes the hustle of the morning routine.


Two different kids off to two different schools and a teenager who hates eating breakfast, unless its served after 11:00 a.m.

I know I can’t send him out the door with an empty belly or a Pop-Tart clutched in his fist, so I did a little research and I think I found a few tweaks we can make to our schedule, and compromise foods that will make us both happy.

Come on, Mom, just 5 more minutes.

As children get older their sleep patterns change. Teens fall asleep later so the snooze button (slash mom’s forgiveness) gets pushed to maximum capacity until finally there is no time for breakfast. To combat this, I’m instituting a decent school night bedtime and declaring that NO electronics will be allowed in his room past that time.

But I’m not even hungry in the morning.

Even kids who say they’re not hungry in the morning should be encouraged to nosh on something. We know that students who eat breakfast have better concentration and more energy in school. Another study found that “the more protein consumed during breakfast led to higher appetite satiety and decreased hunger later in the day.”

Our resident registered dietitian, Mary Hartley, has a few suggestions for surly morning eaters.

“Try to find small items that fit in a baggy and can be eaten in little bites over a span of time,” she advised. “That includes trail mix (not the candy kind) and healthy breakfast bars you make and cut up.”

TRY THIS: Sweet & Nutty Trail Mix


Finding the right balance.

The last thing you want on a busy morning is to fight about breakfast…so pick your battles. If your child doesn’t want to sit and have a formal dining experience, don’t make him/her.

“Some kids will eat little bits as you make the bagged lunches,” said Hartley. “A slice of meat or cheese, a bunch of grapes, a half sandwich, a small (4 oz) glass of milk, can be eaten even as they get ready.”

9 Quick Healthy Options to Mix and Match at Breakfast

rainbow smoothie pour

  • Rainbow Smoothie made with fruit, avocado and skim milk
  • Greek yogurt and peanut/nut butter toast
  • Whole wheat tortilla with low fat cheese and turkey. Fill with slices of red/green pepper for crunch!
  • Oatmeal with fresh fruit
  • Wrap a piece of low fat turkey or chipotle chicken breast around a low fat cheese stick
  • Bagged apples and/or grapes
  • Homemade granola bar
  • Store-bought protein bar (check the label for fat and sugar). We like Luna, Kind and Kashi
  • Whole grain pancakes with peanut butter

The important thing to remember is that what your kids eat is more important than how much. Try to sneak in as many food groups as possible, eliminate white food, cut the sugar, and be sure to include protein for satiety.

Also Read:

10 Breakfast Foods with as Much Sugar as a Candy Bar

How to Make Your Own Granola Bars

Feed Your Kids Whole Grain. According to Science, They’ll Eat Them

images via shutterstock; dana shultz and kacy meinecke for dietsinreview.com

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