What happened to breakfast?
Since the 70’s, as the percentage of Americans qualifying as overweight and obese have increased, breakfast consumption has dropped considerably.
First, look at why breakfast is not happening in your home. Is your child sleeping late? Is no one else having breakfast at home? Are there breakfast foods available? Is your child on a swim or hockey team with early morning practices? (I used to swim early mornings and couldn’t eat breakfast, but made sure I had something for right after.)
Then, problem-solve. If your child has to make a 7 am bus, time might be tight in the morning. Think about moving bed-time up by 20 -30 minutes to start (you can do this gradually.) You might pack back-packs and pre-pack lunches the night before. It takes some work and planning, but it really is THAT important to have breakfast.
Next job is to get back into the habit of eating breakfast. Depending on your child’s age and resistance, this might mean starting with something appealing to the child, or something that can be eaten in the car on the way to school. Maybe take your older child with you shopping and brainstorm a few options that you can have on hand. (Remember, a very young child should not be making decisions about what to eat, but an older child might appreciate some input.)
How about a breakfast bar and milk in a thermos or a milk-box? A protein/granola bar? A bagel with cream cheese and a bottle of juice smoothie? A pop-tart and milk? PB &J? A baggie of dry cereal and milk? Trail-mix and juice? A banana and a protein bar? If you swing by for fast-food, can you find something with protein, fat and carbs? A breakfast egg burrito with milk? An egg-McMuffin with ham and milk? (A sugar load like maple syrup, pancakes and juice will leave your kids hungry sooner and with an energy low, add some milk and its getting better, and way better than nothing.)
Once you have your child back into the habit of eating something, you can branch out and increase variety and maybe have better luck getting her to sit at the table. Can you sit with your child 3 mornings a week? Can you start brewing coffee at home to save 10 minutes on the Starbucks run to save money and maybe toast a frozen waffle and serve it with some banana slices and milk? My kid loved cinnamon raisin toast for awhile with butter and a glass of milk.
Remember, if you’re facing feeding challenges, think first of adding, rather than taking away. Be positive, start from where you are, whether its pop-tarts and you add milk and a banana, or if you’re making home-made flax pancakes.