Finding the best breakfast options for children is important to many parents who want to start the day off right for their kids! I interviewed Dr. Tanya to find out some easy ways to feed our kids a breakfast that keeps them going throughout the day.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What are the best breakfast options for children to start the day off strong and help them get through the day at school?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – So, you’re right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you want to make sure your kids have a healthy, nutritious breakfast to keep the fueled throughout the day. One of the most important parts of breakfast is protein, and one of the easiest ways to get protein in your child’s diet is with a glass of milk. One glass of milk has 8 grams of protein, as well as 9 essential nutrients that most kids don’t get enough of like calcium and Vitamin D and Potassium. So, in addition to the milk, my kids like scrambled eggs often in the morning. Sometimes I make them the night before and just reheat them in the morning as an easy, fast way to get extra protein into their diet. In addition fresh fruit and veggies or whole grain cereal or oatmeal and you can make both with milk as well. And, if your child has a few of these items, they will definitely be fueled for the day ahead at school.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What are the best breakfast options for children in regards to foods that are better for concentration, for test days and such?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – You know, research shows that when kids eat a good source of protein in the morning with breakfast they are able to concentrate better at school and they also get less hungry throughout the day, so they’re less likely to snack on junk foods. You want to make sure that your kids have a healthy protein rich breakfast and that can be as easy as giving them a glass of milk in the morning or milk with their whole grain cereal or oatmeal. You want to try and avoid a lot of that sugar in the morning because that can really make your blood sugar kind of vary throughout the day so having protein in the morning really helps stabilize that blood sugar so your kids can concentrate when they’re in school.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – If a child can’t have milk, what are other best breakfast options for children for morning protein?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – So, good sources of protein are scrambled eggs and as I mentioned, I often make them the night before and reheat them in the morning. Also, if your child is not allergic to nuts, nuts and nut butter are really a good source of protein. And, although a peanut butter sandwich might sound strange to have in the morning for breakfast, it’s actually a very healthy start to the day. So, sometimes if my kids are running late, I’ll make a peanut butter sandwich, put it in a little bag and they will eat it in the car on the way to school.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – How do nutritional needs differ between boys and girls?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – You know, that’s a good question. Both boys and girls do need three servings a day of dairy products to get the calcium and Vitamin D that they need… really for their bones, for their immune system, and just for their overall body health. So, getting a glass of milk in the morning, a container of yogurt… these are great ways to ensure that your kids get the proper protein and nutrition and dairy products that they need. In addition, both boys and girls need servings of fruits and vegetables, every day. Five to nine servings to be exact, as well as whole grains at every meal, and good sources of protein such as eggs, nuts, lean meats and dairy products.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Should parents alter nutrition routines as their children age and grow?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – Well, I think it’s a good idea as kid get older, to actually teach them because they’re going to be more in charge of grabbing their own food out of the refrigerator or choosing what they want to eat for lunch when they go to school. So you want to arm your kids with what they need to know as they get older to make the right choices. In terms of nutritional needs, as your child grows, they do need more of all that good stuff… more calcium, more Vitamin D, more protein. It’s kind of appropriate to how big they are and how old they are. So, really it’s forming those healthy habits when they’re young and getting them used to eating all the proper things so that way they really enjoy having nutrition and they make good choices as they get older.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – For really picky eaters, are freeze dried vegetable/fruit supplements effective?
Dr. Tanya American Academy of Pediatrics Spokesperson – So, the best way to get nutrition is from eating whole fruits and whole vegetables…there are some nutrition supplements available. The best way to get your vitamins and minerals is really through whole foods. If you’re concerned that your child’s diet may be lacking in certain nutrients, talk to your pediatrician or pediatric dietician and they may be able to recommend some supplements that are right for your child.
Dr. Tanya is a working mother and UCLA-trained pediatrician. She is an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson, approved by the national physician organization to communicate complicated medical issues into easily understood concepts. Dr. Tanya has served on the board of the National Association of Medical Communicators and the executive board of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Communications and Media.
For more best breakfast options for children, visit aap.org.