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Kids eating habits and taste preferences change as they grow, and there can be a huge variation between different kids, even within the same household. A common complaint is that parents struggle to get their kids to eat breakfast, and this can make the morning routine of getting kids off to school or weekend sport particularly stressful. We’ve come up with our 4 top tips to get fussy kids eating breakfast.

1. Set Up a Good Routine

For kids that don’t wake up hungry, trying to force them to eat in a specified time frame can be a recipe for disaster. This can be because they feel stressed to finish the food in a short time slot, or because they just aren’t yet alert enough to complete those basic tasks. Try adjusting your morning routine using the following strategies:

  • Waking kids up a little earlier and slowing down the morning routine.
  • Try going for a walk before breakfast as this may help stimulate their appetite.
  • Switch off distractions such as TV, iPad and remove toys from the kitchen table.
  • Sit with your kids and eat breakfast at the same time.

2. Get Them Involved

Getting kids involved in the kitchen can significantly improve their relationship with food. Try the following tips to get your kids engaged in the kitchen, as they are more likely to consume a breakfast they have helped prepare.

  • Have kids select their breakfast food for the week when grocery shopping.
  • Get them to help prepare breakfast by setting the table, getting utensils out of the cupboard or even beating eggs, chopping fruit or veggies.
  • Try to incorporate a new recipe or food into your breakfast each week and have your kids help choose this.

3. Set a Good Example

Kids tend to mimic their parent’s behaviour, so setting a good example early on is very important to creating a good breakfast routine. If you’re rushing around trying to get ready while you leave them to eat breakfast, they are more likely to be distracted and less likely to eat.

  • Sit with your kids and eat breakfast at the same time.
  • Eat the types of foods you would like your children to eat.
  • Use positive reinforcement such as a reward chart, rather than punishment for not eating their breakfast.

4. Get creative

Kids can become bored with the standard breakfast options of cereal and toast. Try mixing up what is on offer at breakfast time to keep them interested and engaged. Some examples you could try include:

  • Make smoothies! Add in their favourite fruits or veggies, yoghurt, milk and some ice
  • If you can’t convince them to give up their sugary cereal, try mixing ¼ to ½ of the cereal with a healthier alternative such as Special K or Weetbix. Start with a small amount and gradually increase as they get used to the different flavours/textures.

While there are tips and tricks you can try to encourage your children to eat breakfast, it is quite normal for kids to go through periods of reduced appetite as they grow.

However, if their food intake has reduced considerably or you are concerned about your child’s growth or health, it is best to seek individualised advice from a doctor or dietitian.

For more personalised nutritional advice, chat with one of our experienced dietitians and get started today.