What to Do If Your Kids Won’t Eat Breakfast Before School
Today I want to talk to you about what to do when your kids won’t eat breakfast before school. I know so many moms are dealing with this as we’re getting back into the school routine where kids are getting up earlier and the mornings are a little bit rushed, and the kids just won’t eat breakfast or just don’t feel hungry yet. Of course, mom is thinking, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I need to have them properly fueled.”
That is true, we really do want to make sure our kids get off to a great start in the morning and we want to make sure that their little bodies are fueled to do the best at school they possibly can, so I can understand how stressful it can be when they will not eat before school.
My top tips for what to do if your kids won’t eat breakfast.
1) Start the night before
Really look at what’s happening before they go to bed. For us and for our family we close down the kitchen. There’s no late night snacking. We try to close down the kitchen by 7:30 at our house. If kids are getting home late from practices and so forth then usually everyone can get in and get dinner by 7:30 pm and then that’s it, we’re done for the night. We’re getting ready to sleep, we’re fueling our bodies for what it is we’re going to be doing, that’s how we want to think about food, as energy. We’re getting ready to sleep, we’re getting ready to rest, and our body needs time to rest and rejuvenate and digest, just calm down for the night. We don’t want to be eating late, late night snacking has never done anyone any good, so don’t let this habit get started.
Think about how you’re ending the evening, winding down the evening after dinner. Be very mindful of what your kids are eating and also drinking. So many kids, I know I have one of them, who loves to have a glass of milk before bed. That’s usually fine, but you just really want to be mindful if they’re having issues eating in the morning you might want to rethink the milk, maybe go to a glass of water, a smaller glass of milk. Really work on ending the day, ending our eating, work on getting rest and letting our bodies digest and refuel while we sleep, which is the intent of getting a good night rest. Be mindful of what they’re eating the night before, tip number one.
2) Think about how they’re waking up
I know I am guilty of this. If we are running late, most mornings, we’re running late. I always work to try to make sure the kids are getting up in a calm, relaxed manner. You really want to be mindful of that. If they’re feeling rushed if they’re feeling stressed, if they’re feeling anxiety upon waking up they are not going to be in a mindset to eat. I think as moms a lot of times we know the schedule in our head and we know where we need to be and what we need to do and what the kids need to do, but we’re not telling the kids and we’re not preparing them for what has to be done.
I’m a big advocate of telling the morning plan to the kids. Making sure the kids know the morning plan, and that I am being mindful of the way they’re waking up, that it’s in a calm manner as much as possible. It’s not from me yelling or other kids yelling. It’s time to wake up, it’s a calm way to wake up.
If you’re struggling with them not eating maybe consider getting them up just a couple minutes earlier, maybe five minutes earlier would make a difference to giving them time to get up, get dressed, think about the day, prepare for the breakfast, and just having them in the right state of mind. When you’re rushed it’s hard to eat, and if you’re already struggling with breakfast and you know the kids are already having a hard time, really look at how they’re waking up and maybe getting them up just even five minutes earlier so they have more time to adjust and really think about what is going to be for breakfast.
I know that a lot of moms are wondering how they can get their kids to eat breakfast. So, in this week’s Facebook Live, I offered my tips on what to do if your kids won’t eat breakfast before school. Check out the video below.
3) Start small
When we think of an American breakfast you think of a Denny’s plate of all this food, or a big bowl of cereal. No, start small, if your little one is struggling with breakfast in your mind you’re thinking, “I need to have them fueled well for school.”
Start small; mini muffins are a favorite for our family. If they just want one or two mini muffins, even if just one, start with one. If they can just get one little mini muffin in them, just something to have in their bellies, it’s a start.
Two things, start small but make sure it’s nutritious. You don’t want to go get mini muffins from the grocery store that are just empty calories and filled with sugar, trans fats and lots of additives. Start them off right with a little homemade mini muffin.
This recipe has oatmeal, coconut oil, flax seed, chia seed, so they’re very nutritious. They have protein; they have healthy fats, all-important for starting our morning. Mini muffins, a little breakfast cookie, one small waffle, so start small, don’t overwhelm them, but just getting something in them. Something little but nutritious, not a processed food, do not start the morning with processed foods. That’s just going to spike their blood sugar and then crash before they even get to 9:30am.
4) Think beyond breakfast foods.
Eggs, bacon, oatmeal, whatever your typical idea is of breakfast, think beyond that. If your child ate what was for dinner last night, huge mom win, yay for you! Think about serving dinner for breakfast, that’s fine. If it’s shredded chicken, if it’s macaroni and cheese, whatever it is they had for dinner the night before, give that to them for breakfast.Think beyond typical breakfast foods and just go to your
Think beyond typical breakfast foods and just go to your kid’s favorites. A healthy option even if it’s, shredded chicken, or turkey slices, or whatever it is you had for dinner, pasta bake, chili, soup, that’s fine, I love to have soup in the morning. I know a lot of times if we have roasted veggies the night before my husband and I will have those with eggs for breakfast. Think about what you had for dinner, if your kids ate that, serve it for breakfast, offer it for breakfast, see if they’ll have that.
Smoothies are always a good choice, especially if you are going to be on the go and you can put it in a travel cup or a sippy cup for them. If your kids are struggling with breakfast keep the smoothie simple. I’m always telling you that smoothies are a great way to introduce vegetables. Well, let’s not start there if the kids are apprehensive about breakfast foods or having breakfast.
Go with a beautiful berry smoothie, something that’s a nice purple color or a peach smoothie, something that’s really appealing, that you know is packed with nutrition, and even if it’s just a little bit.
They don’t have to have a huge eight-ounce glass. If they’re little people, four ounces of smoothie is a great start. A little bit of smoothie, a mini muffin, if you can get that in them you are an awesome mom. You can make the smoothie the night before. You can absolutely make the smoothie the night before. I like to put them in a little mason jar with a lid. That works and that way it’s ready to go for the morning.
You can make the smoothie the night before. You can absolutely make the smoothie the night before. I like to put them in a little mason jar with a lid. That works and that way it’s ready to go for the morning.
6) Snack Time
If they’re not going to eat breakfast and you’ve tried everything, don’t stress. Don’t stress out about it but think about what they’re going to be having for a snack. I know a lot of schools, even up to my third grader, they have snack time. It’s in the classroom, it’s nothing really formal but they do have time to have a snack in the morning before lunch. That’s usually 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning so it’s still fairly early in their school day. Think about snack and really try to make the snack as nutritious as possible. We like to do the mini muffins, applesauce pouches, a piece of fruit. Consider that they haven’t had breakfast and really beef up that snack.
Also talk to your child’s teacher because if they’re going to be having a bigger snack, maybe they’re going to have two or three items, maybe they’re having a muffin and a little applesauce pouch. If they’re going to be having a bigger snack they might need a little more time to eat that and that’s fine. If you talk to your teacher about what’s happening I’m sure they’re going to be a partner with you in this because properly fueled kids are going to do better at school. They’re going to perform better, they’re going to behave better, less fidgeting, more focus, it’s in the teacher’s best interest to make sure the kids are properly fueled as well. Don’t stress about it, let them go, let them go to school, don’t, “Oh you’re going to be hungry. Oh this, oh that. You didn’t have breakfast.” Don’t stress about it but talk to their teacher and really think about what you’re going to pack for a snack, a nutritious snack.
I’d also say this if your kiddos are not eating breakfast, make sure snack is familiar. Make sure it’s something they know and you know that they like because again, they really need that for fuel.