The Breakfast Dilemma (Plus Recipes!)


Toddler refusing to eat breakfastBreakfast is Hard.

At least, for our household it is. With three children aged six, three, and one, it’s quite honestly a whirlwind of checking who needs milk, who needs a spoon, who needs seconds, and whether the baby actually finished her plate or just fed it to the dog. Of course, I’m more than happy to fix everyone their meal. Setting food on the table is the easy part! The hard part is making sure everyone—especially my three-year-old—is actually ingesting food rather than pushing it around their plates until my husband announces that we have five minutes before we *have* to go. 

Here’s where the questions pop-up. Did they actually end up eating anything? Do we stay at the table and finish the meal, setting off a chain reaction of tardiness for the rest of the family? Do we just give out some Cheetos to eat in the car? It’s tough!

Breakfast is Important.

I recently had a bit of a wake-up call during Parent Night at school. Our oldest daughter’s first grade teacher reminded us, “Some kids are asking if it’s snack time and I have to tell them, ‘It’s only 8:15!’ Please make sure your child is getting a good breakfast–the first half of the day is where we do most of our lessons.” Truly, if we’re thinking big-picture, breakfast isn’t a ritual of placing food in front of a child and seeing how long they can sit there staring at it. Breakfast is actually a critical part of these kiddos’ ability to stay alert and engaged at school! It’s their body’s first fuel of the day, and unfortunately it’s a meal that can easily become whittled down to a sugary snack.

Breakfast Can Be Delicious!

Now, I’m not any kind of expert in eating behavior development or nutrition. However, I accept that a child getting a substantial meal is critical, and the best strategy that I have to accomplish this is having a few winning options ready to offer. Now, we eat all kinds of breakfasts in our household, including cereal, bars, this wacky invention known as “cheese toast,” etc. But, I think the best intersections of cost, speed, nutrition, and kid-approval are a fruit smoothie and a bowl of oatmeal. So, here are my tips!


I absolutely love a smoothie. It’s a great option when the kids need the excitement factor. (Straws, am I right?!)

Comfort Smoothie Ingredients

Nutty & Vanilla-y - YUM!
Nutty & Vanilla-y – YUM!
  • Frozen banana
  • Handful of Spinach
  • Spoonful of almond butter
  • Spoonful of Greek yogurt
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • If the kids want it pink rather than green, I add a few pieces of frozen dragon fruit.

Tangy Smoothie

  • Frozen banana
  • Frozen pineapple
  • Frozen apple
  • Frozen ginger (I peel a whole ginger root, dice it, then freeze in a Ziploc. I love ginger and still only need 1 or 2 small cubes for these smoothies)
  • Spinach
  • Orange juice


I have great memories of my dad making oatmeal for us on Saturdays. It took a few years, but my taste buds eventually updated to where I couldn’t stand the sugary microwave packets anymore. A lightly sweetened bowl of thick homemade oatmeal is perfection.

So warm and filling!

I buy any canister of Old-Fashioned Oats and use the directions on the back (boil water, add salt, add oats, stir). I recommend sprinkling in about a teaspoon of brown sugar while it’s cooking. If you’re like me and there’s no way you’re using the stove on a school day, you can make a big batch over the weekend and heat it up during the week. For each of our three girls, this oatmeal was a life saver in that “learning to eat” stage because it thickens up just enough for a baby to pick up bite-sized pieces and eat on their own.

What breakfast options work great for your family? Let me know in the comments!