2011-05-12 / Local & State

Fun And Easy Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Breakfast

We all know the old adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Nevertheless, many parents find themselves short of time or struggling to get their kids to eat a healthful breakfast every morning.

“Whether they’re getting ready for school or just a day of play, kids need to eat something in the morning to jump start their metabolism and keep them energized and focused,” says Stacy Stengel, a sports nutritionist. “Otherwise their bodies go into starvation mode and start storing fat, which can lead to weight-related problems.”

Here are some fun tips to get your kids to eat well in the morning:

Example is the only teacher. The best way to get your kids to eat in the morning is to eat with them. Even if it’s just gulping down a bowl of cereal in 10 minutes, eating every morning, preferably while sitting down, will teach your child a life lesson in making healthy living a priority.

Move up dinner time. The reason breakfast is so critical is because after sleeping eight hours, your body has been deprived of food for 10 to 12 hours. But if your children are eating dinner close to bedtime, they may not be hungry. Try moving dinnertime up by an hour to get your kids hungrier for breakfast.

Cook with flair. Don’t be afraid to don a chef’s hat and get imaginative. Choose foods that kids find fun but that can be prepared quickly. For example, a product called Batter Blaster lets you squirt pancake batter out of a whipped-cream style can, cutting down on prep time and entertaining kids. Kids can choose from different flavors, such as organic original, double chocolate, buttermilk, and organic whole wheat with brown sugar and cinnamon. For more information, visit www.BatterBlaster.com.

Make faces. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a chore of whole grains and protein. Try being creative, like adding food coloring to cereal milk, making faces on kids’ plates or preparing pancakes in fun shapes.

Think outside the box. Breakfast time doesn’t mean your child has to eat breakfast foods. Healthy is healthy. Let your kids have last night’s pizza or chicken with rice – the important thing is that they’re getting protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Eat on the go. While it’s not ideal, eating on the go can be another way to squeeze some nutritious eating in your child’s life. Cereal without milk or granola mix is a great car snack. For children who aren’t very hungry in the morning, try a smoothie of frozen fruit with orange juice or yogurt.

Most of all, don’t stress too much. Kids only need about 500 calories to get them going, and some may eat less in the morning. So long as healthful food is available in the house, they’re sure to get the nutrition they need.

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