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Breakfast for Children and Teens

Start your day right with breakfast!

 

Children and teens that eat a healthy breakfast:1

  • focus and behave better at school, may perform better on tests and assignments and are absent less often.
  • get more vitamins, minerals and fibre than children who skip breakfast.
  • have fewer signs of hunger like headaches, sleepiness and grumpiness.
 
Breakfast
 

Tips for Breakfast Success

  • Involve your child.

Including them in planning, shopping for and preparing breakfast may help increase their breakfast eating. Let your child choose between different healthy options.

Vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods, and protein foods are the basis of healthy eating. Serving a variety of these foods each day helps to make sure your child gets the nutrients they need. Fill half the breakfast plate or bowl with vegetables and fruit and the rest with whole grains and protein foods. Make water the drink of choice. White milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverage or unsweetened plant-based beverages (e.g., oat, pea) are also healthy drinks.

  • Be creative.

Breakfast choices can be “traditional” and include items like whole grain cereal, whole grain toast, fruit, white milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverage. But why not try something different, like cold or reheated leftovers (cold veggie pizza on a whole grain crust, pasta, sandwiches, cheese & crackers).

  • Include a source of protein.2

Including protein at your child's breakfast can help to reduce hunger and help them to feel full until their next meal or snack. Foods like beans and legumes, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, nut butters, cheese and white milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages are good sources of protein.

Be sure to eat breakfast yourself and enjoy breakfast with your child as much as possible.

  • Always eat something.

Having a piece of fruit and taking a snack for later is better than nothing!

Build a Better Breakfast

 Breakfast #1:

  • Start with a whole grain: make a bowl of oatmeal
  • Add a protein food: stir a tablespoon of peanut butter into your oatmeal along with some white milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverage
  • Pair with a fruit: add some berries and have a pear on the side. Enjoy with a glass of white milk.

 Breakfast #2

  • Start with a whole grain: a slice of whole grain toast
  • Add a protein food: make an omelet
  • Pair with a vegetable or fruit: add spinach, peppers, and mushrooms to your omelet.
  • Serve with orange slices on the side. Enjoy with a glass of water.
 
Date of creation: January 21, 2013
Last modified on: November 22, 2019
 

References

1Kothe, E., Mullan, B. (2011). Increasing the frequency of breakfast consumption. British Food Journal, 113(6), 784-796.
2Baum, J, Gray, M, Binns, A. (2015). Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age.. The Journal of Nutrition, 145(10), 2229-35.