Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

What to feed them and how to enjoy the meal together

Doctors, your third grade teacher and soccer coaches are all quick to remind you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. They're thinking in terms of your personal health and endurance. But breakfast plays an essential role in other areas of interest in your world. It's essential to your toddler's nutritional well being, of course. It can also play a key role in your child's social development and behavior. How tuned in are you to the dynamics of the family breakfast?

These tips can help you be more informed about what you feed your little one and how that meal plays out can impact your child and your family.

Plan Your Entire Day's Meals and Snacks

toddler finger food
Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

 The key to planning meals for young children is to ensure that they get a wide variety of nutritious, age appropriate foods over the course of a day. So when you think breakfast, don't feel locked into traditional "breakfast" foods for your little one. If she's ready for eggs and toast, that's fine to offer, but if you have some of her favorite sweet potato mash on hand that can be part of a wonderful first meal of the day.

Yogurt, cereal, bananas and other "breakfast foods" can be offered at snack time or any part of the day. Your toddler is oblivious to what's normal to eat before noon.

Keep in mind, if you have a busy morning routine and need your baby to eat without fussing, don't make breakfast the time of day when you sneak in a less beloved food or try something new. The bustle might already have your toddler a bit stressed and a tantrum is sure to follow.

Have a Wealth of Yummy Options on Hand

And yet...while you don't want to introduce new and suspicious foods at breakfast time to your tired tot, you don't have to make the first daily meal boring and blah. Integrate your child's favorite types of foods into breads and muffins, smoothies, and egg dishes if possible. Here are some winning suggestions:

Skip the Juice

Smoothies are a delicious, vitamin filled option for toddlers. It may take a few extra minutes but it's worth it to make a fresh fruit smoothie instead of giving your little one juice, which studies show can contribute to obesity.

Try these favorite recipes:

Sit With Your Child and Eat Together

While you're little one may be happy to dine while watching Elmo, staring at the television can't provide the personal interaction or social cues that come from eating with a real, live parent.

When you sit across from a table and eat your own meal with your child you naturally engage him in conversation, which boosts verbal and social skills. Chewing your bagel, you are modeling proper eating behaviors that will encourage good table manners and help your little one get over any food fussiness he might have.

Continue Reading