Breakfast is sometimes the most difficult meal of the day. Kids are hungry, time is short and it's easy to get stuck in a rut. We created this free Family Meal Toolkit - Breakfast Edition to help you navigate the first meal of the day with a little less stress. Head to the link below to download it for yourself!
In this toolkit you'll find:
All new breakfast series - Part 1: Allergen-free Breakfast Ideas! These ideas also happen to be all plant-based options.
We want to take you through many different ways to mix up breakfast, starting with ideas for our friends allergic to any of the top 8 allergens - all ideas shown are free from the common allergens, but of course humans can be allergic to anything. (Judy is allergic to avocado!) Modify if your child can’t tolerate something shown.
We also have plenty of breakfast ideas in our free Breakfast Toolkit as well.
If you have taken our online courses, you know that early and frequent exposure to allergens is important for non-allergic kiddos. But if you have a child with an egg, dairy or wheat allergy, breakfast can be tough. Many typical “breakfast” foods that have some protein in them contain an allergen.
Each idea here contains fat, a little protein, and fiber - this combo of macronutrients is important for blood sugar regulation and keeping kids satisfied so they can play, learn and grow. Many protein options like hemp hearts, sunflower seed butter and chia seeds are also a good source of iron - a critical nutrient in childhood! Protein needs aren’t crazy high for kids - they just need exposure to some protein to help balance their nutrition.
If you’re struggling with picky eating or want to help prevent it in your child, don’t forget to check out our Toddler Course.
Each food served here, except the more crunchy rice cake, is appropriate for 6+ months - hold off on the rice cake until around 14-16 months unless you use a really thin rice cake. Babies under 1 can have sips of smoothies, but we don’t want smoothie intake to displace their breast milk or formula intake.
The smoothie shown is made from 1 cup Ripple Foods milk (put in blender first), 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 3/4 cup frozen mango, 3 pitted dates and 1 T. coconut oil. We recommend serving smoothies alongside whole foods because many kids (and adults) aren’t satisfied with a meal when they just drink it.
Bread shown: Follow Your Heart brand from Whole Foods.
Don’t forget that breakfast doesn’t have to come from “breakfast” foods!
We have so many favorite fast breakfast options, but frozen waffles are definitely top 5 lately! Our favorite frozen waffle brands (not sponsored) right now are:
These aren’t the waffles of your childhood (although nothing wrong with those either)! The newest waffles on the market pack more of a nutritional punch - including protein in many cases - so they help keep your kids full and their blood sugar in line. You can serve them with the traditional butter and real maple syrup combo, but we also love mixing it up with the toppings and serving suggested listed below!
Make sure to cut them in the right size for your child - babies 6+ months can eat them as strips or “sandwiches,” and older babies/toddlers can eat them as small pieces, strips, or whole using their hands! Just toast them first and make sure they’re a little crunchy for reluctant eaters!
Judy loves waffles because they have natural bite spots for babies and toddlers working on the “bite and pull” skill. We listed various waffle brands above that help satisfy different nutrient needs, as we know that some of you are dealing with allergies, intolerances or health issues. If the waffle itself is low in protein, make sure to pair it with a protein source like nut/seed butter, eggs, hemp hearts, chia seeds, or milk. As always, read labels carefully if you’re avoiding allergens.
Breakfast burritos are amazing for adults and kids alike because you can modify them to your tastes and dietary needs (see below for allergy/diet modifications), plus they’re super easy and delicious!
Sometimes babies, toddlers and kids are overwhelmed by burritos in their whole form and do better with deconstructed options, so above is one way you could present breakfast burrito ingredients to your tot - using an ice cube tray! (This is a silicone tray from Target purchased this past summer.) Shown here are tortilla, eggs, cheese, beans, guacamole and salsa (2 flavors). Yes, babies and kids can eat spicy foods - just start slowly! Some of these foods contain salt, so if you serve these to babies under 12 months just go easy on salty foods the rest of the day.
Since breakfast burritos from restaurants can be so filling, we’ve shown half of a burrito here. The most important thing is not rigid “portion control,” but rather eating until your body is comfortably full and satisfied.
The ice cube tray spaces are really small - the image isn’t to scale next to the full burrito so you can see it better. Each section has about 1 tablespoon of food. Keep offerings small for kids so they’re not overwhelmed - they can always have more than what you serve, and if they don't eat it you waste less food.
Here are some of our favorite breakfast burrito ingredients:
Need to modify your burrito for allergies or dietary concerns?
Any day can be Toast Tuesday! (And yes, Toast Tuesday is a thing!) We want kids to eat what we eat, but sometimes the super creative toast topping ideas are a little too out there for more reluctant eaters. Here are some ways to mix up how you serve toast to your kids. Of course, these ideas may be too "out there" for your family, but give them a shot!
Are you trying to introduce your child to new foods? Make sure to start small. Make one tiny change in how you offer toast one day - perhaps you have your tot spread the peanut butter himself and ask him if he wants to add some fresh fruit. Lay off the pressure - just model and have fun! Don’t be discouraged if they pick off all the toppings and eat them - or not - first.
We love Dave's Killer Bread and Food for Life Ezekiel bread as great whole grain options! Watch for honey for infants and large seeds for kids under 4.
When it comes to raising adventurous eaters, it’s all about repetition, variety, and approaching mealtime with curiosity and fun (not pressure or anger). Huge change doesn’t happen overnight. Your kiddo will get there!
Need help with a reluctant eater? Our online Toddler Course is perfect for kids 10 months (who are self-feeding) through 5-6+!
If you want even more creative Toast Tuesday ideas, head to Milk & Honey Nutrition!
Perfect for when apples are in season.
Muffins are an easy option for fast mornings, especially when paired with some protein (like a hard boiled egg) and some fruit. Veggies and Virtue has an awesome Muffin Club series, and this Healthy Apple Muffin from Cookie and Kate is one that is great for fall when apples are in season!
Here is the recipe:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Blend well with a whisk. Add the grated and chopped apple and stir to combine.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil and maple syrup and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt, applesauce and vanilla and mix well. (If the coconut oil solidifies in contact with cold ingredients, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30 second bursts.)
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). The batter will be thick, but don’t worry! Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar.
Bake muffins for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Cool before serving!
Banana Pancakes are one of our favorite breakfast recipes. If you've followed us since the beginning, you know that this recipe has been a staple in my house since my kids began eating at 6 months of age!
We love using a cookie cutter to cut the pancake into a fun shape, and if your tot is old enough (2-3+), offer some almond or sunflower seed butter on the side and an appetizer spreader (those rounded mini dull knives used for cheese and spreads). Let your little one spread the nut butter (or butter or jelly) around themselves! Just be careful they aren’t eating a big glob of almond butter at once, as it can be a choking hazard.
Baby can enjoy these as well. Cut into slices so they can easily pick up!
Practice serving them cut into small pieces, strips, wedges, fun cookie cutter shapes, or whole with toddlers and kids to practice different fine motor skills.
Here’s how you make it:
Check out some of the other variations to the recipe below.
These can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 4-6 months, so feel free to double or triple the recipe to have extras for easy weekday breakfasts! Just thaw and reheat in the toaster oven on convection or in the microwave before serving.
You can also mix it up by simply changing the toppings! Some good options are:
When making the blueberry variation, keep the blueberries out of the blender and wait to add to the completed batter.
Keep it simple, friends.
What did you have for breakfast today? One of our go-to’s is “egg in a hole” (and holy smokes, there are so many different names for this delightful meal!). Basically, cook an egg inside a buttered piece of bread and serve it with some fruit. Filling, balanced, and wholesome, but also absolutely delicious. Here’s how we make it:
Get (a little) creative for breakfast.
Art toast is a fun way to add variety to breakfast and work on some fine motor skills.
Judy recommends this starting at around 16-18 months when your toddler can more easily pronate/supinate at the wrist if using spoons for these toppings, but you can start earlier if your child is interested and you can assist!
Start with toasted whole grain bread (use gluten-free if needed, watch for honey if serving to babies) and smear it with a smooth base:
You just need something food will stick to.
In small bowls or on the side of your child’s tray/plate, put piles of chopped fruit, chia or hemp seeds (hemp hearts are tiny and soft), cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, applesauce...the possibilities are endless! Let them use spoons, tongs or their hands to add the toppings.
As they get older, they can smear the nut butter or cream cheese themselves - just keep in mind that a large glob of nut butter is a choking hazard.
A word on chia seeds: small amounts are safe for babies and toddlers as long as they’re mixed into or stuck on food and are not inhaled. Help your child add a small sprinkling to chia seeds to their toast using their fingers or a spoon, and shake off any excess that’s not stuck to the toast. Chia seeds get EVERYWHERE when dropped, so a small bowl of them is more appropriate for an older child who doesn’t throw their bowls. We use glass ramekins, but younger kids may need a non-breakable material if they’re prone to dropping.
If your child wants to pick off the toppings before eating the toast, that’s OK - the point is that they’re interacting with the food and having fun at the meal. If they’ll touch the toppings now, they’re more likely to eat them in many ways down the road.
Need help with encouraging more adventurous eating? Check out our Toddler Course.
Needing some extra protein?
Hard boiled eggs are a great way to pack some protein into your snacks and meals without taking too much time. Here are a few ways you can serve them to your little ones, or even for yourself, on those really busy days.
There's no wrong way to use hard boiled eggs. You can make a batch over the weekend and use them throughout the week for the whole family.
PS: There’s not much difference between brown and white eggs besides the type of chicken they come from.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!