Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Kids
Wondering how to pick healthy breakfast options for your child? Read on to learn the how to help her have an energetic and happy day.
By Priya Kathpal
The word breakfast literally means ‘breaking the fast’ between the previous day’s dinner and the meal eaten next morning (however clichéd it may sound). It's important to have some healthy breakfast options for kids, especially before school. Having a nutritious breakfast has several health benefits, moreover it's imperative, especially for growing kids. As they need good food, especially food that is high in proteins, to grow. Listed below are the benefits of a wholesome breakfast and also a few nutritious Indian breakfast ideas for tiny tots.
Importance of breakfast for children
Breakfast should be considered the most essential meal of the day for your child for several reasons. It fuels him up for his daily activities, prevents starvation and keeps him from overeating. Thus, it helps maintain a healthy body weight. A nutritious breakfast provides one-fourth to one-third of your child’s daily nutrition requirement. Children who eat breakfast exhibit improved academic performance, better cognitive functions, longer attention span, less absenteeism and decreased hyperactivity in school.
Healthy breakfasts for toddlers:
It’s important for toddlers to have breakfast every day, but it is even more important to pay attention to what the breakfast comprises. A healthy breakfast essentially needs to have these three components:
1. Whole grains at breakfast (The energy suppliers)
Your toddler is growing. Whole grains contribute to the most important macro-nutrient: carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates. Carbs provide your toddler with the much-needed energy to sustain her high activity levels. In the absence of breakfast, your child may become highly irritable, tired and restless because of the drop in blood glucose levels. Whole grains provide the vital vitamins and minerals that play a key role in your child’s overall growth and development. Fibre-packed whole grains also help prevent and ward off constipation in toddlers.
2. High proteins at breakfast (The body builders)
Good quality protein can be derived from foods of animal origin like milk and dairy products, poultry, especially chicken and eggs, fish and other sea foods. However, even vegetarian sources like dals and sprouts can provide essential proteins when coupled with cereals. Soyabean is also an excellent protein source for vegetarians.
3. Fruits and vegetables at breakfast (The micro-nutrient providers)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the key providers of vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium that are crucial for your child. Fruits and veggies also provide fibre. A toddler’s daily diet should provide 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Adding a serving to the breakfast leaves out only four servings for the day.
Healthy Indian breakfast ideas for toddlers:
Young children generally complain of ‘not being hungry’ early in the morning. Hence, feeding your child a nutritious breakfast in the morning rush hour may seem like a herculean task. Planning and preparing in advance becomes essential. Serving foods attractively can arouse your child’s interest, especially when the food looks tasty. This also helps when dealing with a picky eater. And, remember that a toddler’s serving size is about one-fourth that of an adult. You should not force-feed your child to eat more. A few quick, easy-to-make Indian breakfast options are provided below. You can easily add these food items to your child's breakfast menu.
1. The South-Indian delicacies
Dosa, uttapam, appam and idli - the best part is all these can be made from the same batter. A lot of variety indeed! This rice and urad dal (1:3) combination provides the essential proteins and carbohydrates. Calcium-rich ragi or nachni also makes a healthy breakfast option. Ragi dosa or uttapam can be provided occasionally.
2. The health-packed parathas
Whole wheat parathas made with healthy vegetable stuffing of your child’s choice can serve as a quick breakfast option. Serve it warm with ghee and you’ll find them relishing it without knowing which vegetable has gone in! For variety, you can add a single vegetable to make a paratha like carrot paratha or add multiple veggies like in a mix-veg paratha. You can supplement it with proteins from your child’s favourite cheese, paneer, tofu, etc. Sprouts can also be stuffed in the parathas. Boiled moong dal or moong dal atta can be added to the wheat flour while binding. Serving the paratha with a glass of milk or curd takes care of the required proteins.
3. The on-the-go sandwiches
Sandwich is generally a toddler’s favourite breakfast. Young children can be served open sandwiches presented on one whole wheat bread slice. The wide variety of vegetables that can be incorporated in a sandwich makes it a parent favourite too! Non-veg proteins can be easily sneaked in the sandwich in the form of shredded chicken, egg bhurji, omelette or fish. Vegetarians can resort to dairy products like cheese and paneer to make it healthier. Fruits can be added to sandwiches too.
4. The yummy pancakes
Pancake, commonly referred in India as ghavan, dhirde or cheela can be made with whole-wheat or rice flour, dal flours or a combination of these, egg, milk and several other ingredients.
Hope these ideas help you plan a variety of delicious breakfasts for your toddler!
The author is a nutritionist and Founder of Nutrify
Also read: 7 Breakfast Ideas Within 7 minutes
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