A common complaint from mothers is “my child is such a picky eater; nothing seems to appeal to him or her”.
It’s not only about the child’s nature, it also as much about the food you present to them and how you present it.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters have better concentration in school and perform better in their studies. What does a mom do if their child refuses to eat breakfast and the table becomes a battleground of wills?
Let’s look at some quick tips to take away when preparing healthy breakfast recipes for children:
- Lose the control. It is your job as a parent to place healthy food in front of the child, it is the child’s role to decide if and how much they want to eat. No more clean plate clubs or rewarding or punishing children with food.
- Make the food kid- friendly and fun to eat. Serve a variety of different healthy fare and let the child pick up the food with their fingers and eat it if they so choose. You could put out a bowl of wholegrain cereal with fat-free milk, a few pieces of fresh fruit, a glass of fresh orange juice, whole grain toast with peanut butter or a tasty smoothie made with low fat chocolate milk, peanut butter and a banana.
- Plan a routine time for breakfast so your child is not rushed. This is usually a challenge when you have to get them ready for school, but can be done with some planning. A hurriedly gulped down breakfast is not ideal and can be avoided if you simply plan ahead.
- If time permits, allow your child to help you in the kitchen in preparing the breakfast. (Weekends are a great time to get your kids in the kitchen.) Perhaps let them choose the breakfast menu (just give them healthy guidelines—how about whole grain pancakes with mini chocolate chips and fresh berries?). This simple task helps the child feel engaged and is a perfect teachable moment for mom to discuss nutrition. Besides, kids tend to eat the food they have prepared themselves.
- If your child is over the age of two, you should be giving them low fat and fat-free dairy products. Use low fat dairy in your healthy breakfast recipes. Breads and cereals should all be whole grain. If your child doesn’t like the brown color of whole grain, try the white whole wheat products. Reduce the amount of sugar sweetened drinks and salt in your child’s diet.
- Breakfast should be eaten at the kitchen table and never while watching TV. Eating with the family at the table is the foundation for healthy eating habits.
Make breakfast fun, enjoyable and a valuable time for the family. Follow some or all of the tips above and your child will surely learn some lasting healthy nutrition habits.