Breakfast Woes

This post is for all of you who hate me when I tell you what my kids eat for dinner.

Mushrooms, check! Spinach, check! Brussels sprouts, check! Kale, check! Onions, check! Meat, veggies, soup, potatoes, rice… you name it, they eat it. Not to say that all 3 kids eat everything, but they all have a pretty good repertoire of dinner foods they’ll eat, and they’re always willing to try new things.

Dinner time is fun in our house. I enjoy cooking, and they enjoy eating. Yes, I do know how fortunate I am.

Lunches are kind of a wash. I pack sandwiches on homemade bread almost every day – usually lunchmeat or PB&J – and an apple and maybe one other filler like a granola bar or cut up veggies. I don’t love that they eat so much bread, but they’re not so much into taking dinner leftovers in a thermos (they all complain that they don’t stay hot enough) and I find that to be more of a hassle than throwing a sandwich together. But at least they’re not buying school lunches very often, and they don’t complain {too much} about having to bring a packed lunch.

But then there’s breakfast.

delicious paleo breakfast plate

Breakfast is killing me. For one thing, my son has reached the “I’m not hungry” stage. My kids have always had good appetites in the mornings, but this summer we got in the bad habit of putting off breakfast until like 9 or 10 AM, and I think they’re just not hungry at 7:30 anymore. Add to that, my one daughter will not touch an egg. She also won’t eat yogurt or smoothies. Or oatmeal. Oh, and lately she doesn’t care for pancakes either.

I could make waffles or French Toast every day, but they already get bread every day for lunch. Call me crazy, but I do not think that a grain-based diet is optimal. (USDA Food Pyramid – or whatever it’s called nowadays – notwithstanding.) I don’t mind making waffles or French Toast a couple times a week, but these kids need to eat more veggies and proteins – not more grains.

Lately even my son, who used to always eat my eggs, has been picking at his plate. I often throw in broccoli or swiss chard or cheese. He used to eat them that way, but now he’s not eating them, no matter what I do or don’t put in them. He just picks at it. All he wants is cinnamon toast. UM. NO. He also used to eat oatmeal and lately has been turning that down too.

My youngest is the only one who pretty much eats anything I put in front of her at breakfast time (or any meal, really. Can I clone her?)

If smoothies and eggs are out, and I don’t want to fill them up on more grains (cereal is obviously out, for more reasons than one) . . . what else is there? They do like breakfast meats, and I try to buy the healthy kind, but that gets expensive, and sausage does not a meal make.

Got any ideas for me?

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42 Responses

  1. You know I am so glad you posted this because my 11 year old daughter recently is shunning breakfast. She is also wanting to sleep later. I never put the two together = hormones?!

    No wonder her eggs are usually still sitting on her plate when she leaves and end up in the dog dish! She does like smoothies still. I have not other great suggestions. I just make it a point to pack fruit in her morning snack at school.

  2. This is fairly inexpensive and my kids like it any time of day. I make a huge pan (2 lbs. meat with 3 lbs. potatoes) and it lasts about 3 mornings at our house of 4. Make homemade turkey breakfast sausage. Easy recipe on allrecipes.com. Just brown it, not make patties, then cool. Then, chop or shred some sweet potatoes. Roast them in a separate pan and then cool. Place on top of the browned sausage in a 9×13. At meal time, scoop some out and heat it in a skillet with some butter or coconut oil. Serve fruit on the side, if desired.

    Good luck! 🙂 I think I burned my kids out on eggs, and we don’t do much grain, so I am having to be creative, too. Fortunately they still like smoothies. For now…

    1. I am SO trying this breakfast idea! My kids are the same way, Jo-Lynne, they all eat at varying levels of pickiness (sp?) and it makes me crazy. And if the kids don’t like this one, I’ll just eat it all. 🙂

  3. Breakfast has been super hard here lately. She used to eat homemade whole wheat waffles that we had made ahead of time and then frozen. Add in a piece of turkey bacon or some applesauce or fruit and she was done. She started jr. high this year and if you play a sport you have to be at the school at 0645 every.freaking.morning. No smart kid is gonna load up on a waffles and then have to run in athletics. She eats a light bowl of cereal now with some fruit or applesauce.

    I grew up on Cheerios and fruit and I’m not obese or yadayadayada….cereal in the morning won’t hurt kids.

  4. Breakfast is a wash at our house. My son is usually not hungry. He’s a very picky eater but will eat eggs and outmeal on occasion. My daughter will only eat waffles, bagel, toast….you get the idea. Which isn’t great because she only eats nutella on whole wheat bread for lunch, with yogurts and another filler.

  5. What about atypical breakfast foods, like turkey rolled around cheese (or some people like it rolled around a pickle?). Also, I like to dress my eggs up like a pizza with tomato sauce and veggies and cheese.

  6. Hmmm…. Thankfully breakfast is my easy meal (for now). How ’bout cut up fruit dipped in that pumpkin/cream cheese dip? (Agave nectar for sweetener) Or dipped in natural peanut butter?
    Hummus (crazy easy to make at home and my kids LOVE it. I have a great recipe) and veggies (I know it’s not breakfasty, but if they’ll eat it, why not?) Or hummus and whole grain tortillas?
    Or go European and do a little plate of lunch meat and cheeses. Will they eat nuts? How ’bout a dish of nutty/fruity trail mix and a glass of fresh squeezed juice or milk? Instead of smoothies, what about a good old banana/orange shake with maybe some dried milk, orange julius style?

  7. We eat sausage for breakfast. It’s about all I serve on weekdays. Occasionally pancakes or oatmeal.

    My daughter is sensitive to eggs, wheat and dairy and we keep the house free of those ingredients so she can have the occasional dairy ice cream or wheat birthday cake outside the home. I want her to eat good protein in the morning. Sausages are expensive but they’re also quick, easy and fit the diet. Mostly I buy the chicken/apple stuff at BJ’s. It’s the cheapest per serving I’ve found. We have pancakes at least once on the weekends and make extra to use as bread during the week.

    Emily, I am definitely going to try that at home. It sounds wonderful.

  8. Wow Emily, that sounds great! Now if I could only figure out how to Pin that comment so I don’t forget it. 🙂

  9. What about breakfast sandwiches? I know the grains are not optimal – but sometimes if eggs don’t seem to do the trick for me, I’m more enticed if it’s on an english muffin with a small slice of cheese and hot sauce. Maybe it’d be even more fun for them if you made them up, wrapped them in tin foil, and let them eat it on the way to the bus stop or something?

    Also – this may not work for your son, especially since he’s a bit older, but if you make the food fun it might encourage them? I don’t have the time or energy to do it, but a friend of mine has this artistic flare with food, and makes little scenes out of her daughter’s lunches. Her little 2 year old will eat just about anything – and I’d imagine the fun artsy fartsy stuff might contribute to that. Her examples: https://playingwithfoodblog.blogspot.com/.

    If you find a good alternative breakfast, I hope you post about it! Because I like to mix things up too – and we are pretty boring with cereal, pancakes or eggs…(and coffee. I can’t forget the coffee)…

  10. How about a fruit salad with yoghurt dressing? I would chop up fresh apples, pears, and bananas, then drizzle with the dressing. (I usually take an organic vanilla yoghurt cup, add some plain to lessen the sweetness, then add OJ until it has a consistency that you like.) You can add any fruits that you like, but these three are always winners in our home.

  11. The picture looks delicious. I have one picky breakfast eater out of the 4 school age kids. She eats what I make anyway. We have eggs almost every day and biscuits a couple of times a week. I usually put ham or sausage in the eggs. Bacon is a treat. I’m blessed with kids that don’t mind eating the same thing every day so far.

  12. Eggs taste dramatically different depending on how you prepare them. If scrambled or sunnyside up isn’t working, how about a fritatta? or a quiche?

    You say smoothies are out, but why? is it the yogurt taste to them? Then how about loading it up with more fruit, or even changing things up with some pumpkin, or some peanut butter and coco powder. My smoothie this morning was a cup of home made kefir, a banana and a heaping pile on a teaspoon of baking coco with a little bit of honey (maybe a teaspoon) with ice and a teaspoon of coconut oil.

    How about making “breads” with unconventional flours. you can make baked goods with either almond flour and coconut flour.

    how about challenging the kids to come up with their own breakfasts. Put down your parameters, and let them scour the net for recipes that they are interested in and will work for you.

    I also just saw a pumpkin quinoa bake I can’t wait to try. I’m thinking of making it this weekend and it will last me all week too. For a family it probably won’t last as long..

  13. Make the smoothie, and freeze it in a popsicle mold. Other than that maybe they would like one of the breakfast casseroles,,,they do have egg, but also sausage, cheese, veggies or peppers…you can eliminate the bread.

  14. I try to keep homemade granola and granola bars on hand. They eat the granola either mixed in vanilla greek yogurt or just with milk on it. I sneak some flax seeds and sunflower seeds along with some nuts into the granola. They love it! Good luck!

  15. Greek yogurt, crustless quiche, spanish omelet, adding cheese, peppers, mushrooms etc to scrambled eggs, boiling or poaching the eggs…

  16. My daughter will NOT eat breakfast. Sometimes I may get her to eat a quarter of a waffle, but other than that nothing. My husband doesn’t like to eat breakfast either so I think it may be genetic with her. I just don’t force her anymore. If she wants to eat she can and if she doesn’t then she has to wait until snack time at school (first grade) or lunch. I figure that after awhile she’ll learn to eat in the mornings or just be fine not eating.

  17. We struggle with the same thing. My son tends to eat the same thing until he is so sick of it he can’t stand it anymore. And then I have to find a new “something”. I make almond flour muffins (I know you can’t due to allergies) with bananas and blueberries. We have all literally been eating the same exact thing for breakfast now for well over a year. I’ve been waiting for the “this makes me sick” lecture. 😛

  18. I am not a fan of breakfast foods myself. I can’t stand the thought of eating anything before 10:00 and on the rare occasion that I do eat breakfast, I usually end up with a sandwich or leftovers. Perhaps they could eat your dinner leftovers at breakfast. I know that sounds crazy but maybe they just need a break from breakfast.

    Also, if you or they aren’t up for dinner leftovers for breakfast, how about fresh fruit and hash browns.

  19. Oatmeal? I make it with raw milk instead of water for extra protein, I add cut up apples, raisins, cinnamon and the kicker – real peanut butter (now of that stuff with junk in it – just peanuts), then when I serve it I add just a dash of real maple syrup. My girls eat it just like that and I like to add a a spoonful of homemade full fat, raw milk yogurt. YUMMY!

  20. We have been eating baked oatmeal around here lately. You can find many recipes online. We just top it with fresh fruit…peaches, strawberries, etc. Even defrosted frozen fruit work well because the mushiness works well with the casserole.

  21. You should check out a blog called peanut butter fingers. It’s at pbffingers.com. She makes what she calls “smoothie bowls”. They are basically extra thick smoothies that she (usually) puts spinach and protein powder in. They are so thick that she eats them with a spoon. She also uses almond milk to up the protein. It’s something different that might intrigue your kiddos.

  22. How about something with potatoes/hashbrowns? a cheesy potato dish? add sausage/ham/bacon to it? You can make a big pan of it and heat it up all week! Like someone mentioned above, I don’t like the flavor of yogurt in my smoothies…and also load it with ice so they are really thick and chunky. Maybe try new combos of fruit?

    Or how about something like a wrap – in a whole wheat tortilla? meat and cheese or eggs and hashbrowns? I haven’t jumped on the anti boxed cereal wagon yet, (my dad worked for general mills for 43 years- old habits die hard, plus I really really like cereal) but we are definitely eating much less than we used to. Good luck!

  23. I’m loving the meat and potatoes idea, or the breakfast casseroles. You all have great ideas! My son is allergic to nuts, so that doesn’t help matters. Especially when I’m gluten free, a lot of recipes substitute almond flour. Oh well.

    I also had an epiphany of sorts yesterday – if I go to the trouble to make a big breakfast, it’s just not optional anymore. It’s what’s for breakfast. That’s how we handle dinner, why not breakfast? Anyway, thanks everyone!!!!

  24. What about breakfast burritos? You could leave the eggs out for those who don’t like them. Put black beans, sausage/ham/bacon, salsa, cheese in them, yum! I also make some wheat hot cereal that I get at trader joe’s. If you make it with milk it adds some more protein. You can sweeten and use fruits to your heart’s delight.

    1. You know, breakfast burritos is something I’ve never gotten into but they always sound good to me. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to eat them, but I wonder if my kids would like them.

  25. Well I forgot your DS was allergic to nuts, and I was going to suggest apples or bananas w/ peanut or almond butter 🙁
    We make some wheat free items with coconut flour, would that work for you? There are some recipes on Candace’s low carb that are good, one recently was Banana spice muffins.
    We still eat tons of eggs since we raise chickens…what about Egg Muffins where you can make ahead and add veggies and/or meat to them. They are great to grab & go, too.
    We also make what my DH calls Meat Muffins, which has ground turkey, broccoli, and cheese in it.
    Good luck, breakfast can be tough when time is limited.

  26. A couple of unusual breakfasts that are going over well here:
    * a fried egg on top of rice, served with soy sauce
    * fried egg with pinto beans and rice and hot sauce
    * breakfast in a bowl. Hot buttery cheesy grits with eggs cracked and mixed in while grits are hot, along with crumbled sausage or bacon. The eggs are hidden basically. My current egg haters will eat this.

    I know that’s still eggs, but maybe it’s different enough to be ok?

  27. How about slicing an apple so its large apple slices and making a sandwich with peanut butter so it’s a “sandwich” but without the bread. My kids love it and dont miss the bread. Very portable too.

    Or a lettuce wrap with turkey and cole slaw (without the dressing). Again portable, non eggy, low carb….

  28. I struggle with breakfast for my fussy kid, and I love all of the suggestions! Something Trina from O’boy Organic made that inspired me was baked oatmeal. I make a recipe I found on allrecipes.com for fruity baked oatmeal that has blueberries and peaches in it. I cut the quantity of sugar and butter back and often add ground flax seed for a nutrituonal boost. It can be made ahead and easily warmed up. I call it oatmeal cake to my son to make it sound more appealing. We also do fruit smoothies a lot here, especially with frozen local berries that we picked in the summer.

  29. Maybe a crustless quiche? I make a crustless spinach quiche with cottage cheese and parmesean. Bacon could be added or more flavor even. But, I’m game for the burrito idea and potato casseroles, too.

  30. I’m a teenager and I can be fairly picky about foods but for breakfasts, I like yogurt with fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts or a home made compote (so easy, blackberry and apple is really good – just put about equal amounts of blackberries and apples with about four tablespoons of sugar in a pan with a tiny bit of water and cook over a really low heat til it softens nicely). Muesli or granola for cereals because they don’t seem as carbohydraty as things like Rice Krispies. Porridge is a good one too, fills you up til lunch, low GI, keeps you warm in the winter and you can top it with just about anything (bananas, syrup, spices, raisins, nuts and you can even buy flavoured versions from Rude Health or Dorset Cereals).

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