25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
It’s important for kids to eat a healthy breakfast to refuel their bodies after sleep, as their brains and bodies are still developing.
Yet, 20–30% of children and adolescents tend to skip this meal.
A healthy breakfast can be quick and easy for you or your child to make. Breakfasts can also be made ahead of time, and some are portable for eating on the go.
Here are 25 simple and healthy breakfast options for kids.
Eggs are a staple breakfast item, as they’re easy to prepare, versatile, and packed with high-quality protein and other nutrients.
The protein in eggs is especially important for growing children because it helps build muscles and tissues.
Also, compared with cereal, eggs may keep kids feeling more full throughout the morning.
What’s more, egg yolks are a source of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which benefit eye and brain health.
One study in 8- and 9-year-old children found that those who ate more lutein-rich foods had higher levels of lutein in their retinas. This was associated with improved academic performance, including better scores in math and written language.
Here are some scrumptious ways to serve eggs for breakfast.
1. Egg-and-vegetable muffins
These muffins are a great way to sneak in some extra vegetables. Plus, they’re portable and easy to make in advance.
To make them, mix eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl and add chopped vegetables of your choice.
Divide the mixture evenly into greased muffin tins and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 12–15 minutes or until done.
2. Eggs in a hole
Using a round cookie cutter, cut a hole in the middle of a slice of whole-grain bread and place it in a frying pan with some olive oil or melted butter.
Crack an egg into the hole and cook on the stovetop until done.
3. Ham-and-cheese frittata
Frittatas are an easier version of omelets. Simply beat 1–2 eggs per person with some salt and pepper and pour into a nonstick frying pan.
Sprinkle with chopped ham and any type of shredded cheese, then cook on medium-high heat until the eggs are set.
No flipping is required. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.
4. Scrambled-egg tacos
For a fun and portable twist on tacos, scramble 1–2 eggs per child and serve in taco-size whole-grain tortillas.
If desired, top with cheese and black beans for extra protein and salsa for veggies and flavor.
5. Berry breakfast strata
Stratas are a hearty make-ahead version of French toast.
To make one, line a baking dish with six slices or broken-up pieces of whole-grain bread. Sprinkle fresh berries over the bread.
Beat 6 eggs, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla. Optionally, you can add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of maple syrup.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread and fruit, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake the strata at 350°F (177°C) for about 30 minutes or until it’s puffy and golden.
6. Hard-boiled egg pops
To make egg pops, cut a carrot or celery stalk in half lengthwise and then into 4-inch (10-cm) lengths. Next, peel 1–2 hard-boiled eggs per person. Carefully poke the carrot or celery sticks into the bottoms of the eggs.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper or add a dollop of mustard if desired.
Healthy whole-grain options
Whole grains, which have all three parts of the grain — germ, bran, and endosperm — intact, include brown rice, whole wheat, oats, quinoa, sorghum, and millet. They’re healthier than refined grains because they’re higher in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Indeed, children may benefit from eating more of them.
In a 9-month study in children ages 9–11 with excess weight, those who ate 3 servings of whole-grain foods each day had a lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and body fat percentage, compared with those who ate their regular diet.
Many whole-grain breakfasts can be prepared ahead of time. Here are some tasty options.
7. Overnight oats
Overnight oats are easy to make in Mason jars the night before, and your child can customize this dish with their favorite toppings.
Mix about 1/4 cup (26 grams) of rolled oats and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of any type of milk in a small Mason jar. Top with nuts, shredded coconut, chia seeds, and dried or fresh fruit.
Instead of cooking, leave the jar in the fridge and let the oats soften overnight.
8. Baked oatmeal
After you bake this healthy breakfast of whole grains and fruit, you can eat it throughout the week.
In a bowl, mix:
2 cups (208 grams) of rolled oats
3 cups (700 ml) of any type of milk
2 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla
brown sugar to taste
any type of fresh or frozen fruit
Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 45 minutes or until the oatmeal is set.
9. Pear-and-sorghum porridge
Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain with a chewy, nutty texture.
Mix cooked sorghum with any type of milk and top it with ripe, sliced pears — or any seasonal fruit.
10. Blueberry mug muffin
Wild blueberries are packed with antioxidants and make a great addition to your breakfast.
In a microwave-safe mug, mix:
1/4 cup (30 grams) of flour
1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon (5 grams) of baking powder
a pinch of salt and cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) of milk
a small handful of frozen blueberries
Microwave on high for 80–90 seconds.
11. Pumpkin-quinoa porridge
Quinoa is a quick-cooking gluten-free grain, and this breakfast porridge packs a punch of vitamin A from canned pumpkin.
Boil one part quinoa with two parts of any type of milk, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in some canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Before serving, top it with chopped nuts, brown sugar, or shredded coconut.
12. Peanut-butter-banana breakfast cookies
Breakfast cookies are cookie-shaped muffins that pack more whole grains into your routine.
To make them, you’ll want:
1 cup (104 grams) of quick oats
3/4 cup (90 grams) of whole-wheat flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
1/2 cup (115 grams) of very ripe mashed banana
1/4 cup (59 ml) of maple syrup
1/4 cup (59 ml) of milk
2 tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter
Mix the ingredients, preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drop the batter into about 12–15 cookies, flattening them lightly with a spatula, then bake for 10–15 minutes or until firm and golden. Cool on a cooling rack before serving or storing in an airtight container.
13. Chocolate protein pancakes
Make your favorite pancakes more satisfying by adding a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the batter. Add a bit of extra milk if the batter is too thick.
You can also boost pancakes’ protein content by adding Greek yogurt, eggs, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chia seeds to the batter.
14. Strawberry ricotta toast
This simple meal hits multiple food groups at once. Spread whole-grain toast with ricotta cheese and top it with sliced strawberries.
Drinkable breakfast options
Breakfast smoothies are an easy way to pack an entire meal into a drink. They’re also a good way to add extra fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet.
In a study in adolescents, introducing fruit smoothies as a school breakfast item increased the percentage of students who ate a full serving of fruit from 4.3% to 45.1%.
However, other research suggests that drinking — instead of eating — fruits and vegetables may promote weight gain. Thus, it’s best to watch portion sizes.
For a healthy breakfast smoothie, use a small serving of unsweetened fresh or frozen fruit. Add a handful of leafy green vegetables, a spoonful of nut butter for healthy fat, and either milk, Greek yogurt, or a serving of soft-cooked legumes for protein.
Here are some drinkable breakfast options.
15. Chocolate-peanut-butter-banana smoothie
Blend a frozen banana, scoop of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon (7.5 grams) of unsweetened cocoa powder, and milk.
16. Strawberry-almond-butter smoothie
Frozen strawberries are great for this smoothie. Blend them with some almond butter and milk.
17. Unicorn fruit-and-greens smoothie
Make a healthy, colorful smoothie by blending probiotic-rich kefir with various fruits and greens.
To get rainbow layers, blend each food separately and pour it into a glass. Lightly drag a straw through the layers to swirl them together.
18. Orange creamsicle smoothie
This smoothie is full of vitamin C to boost your immune system, potassium for electrolytes, and protein to fuel your muscles.
Blend the following:
half of a frozen banana
the fruit and zest of 1 small orange
1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) of orange juice
1/2 cup (150 grams) of vanilla Greek yogurt
19. Greek-yogurt smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls are a cool, refreshing breakfast. Pour an extra-thick smoothie into a bowl and top it with fruit, nuts, and seeds. Greek yogurt makes an excellent base.
Fruits and vegetables for breakfast
Fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious, but most children — and adults — don’t eat the recommended daily amounts.
The recommended intakes range from 1.5–4 cups for vegetables and 1–2.5 cups for fruits per day, depending on a child’s age. If you use the metric system, keep in mind that gram equivalents for these amounts vary widely.
Serving more fruits and vegetables at breakfast time can help children establish healthy eating habits.
In a study in 16- and 17-year-old students, eating more vegetables was associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while eating more fruit was associated with a lower BMI.
Researchers note that providing fruits and veggies at home, and eating them with your kids, helps them get in the habit of eating these foods.
Here are a few simple recipes.
20. Breakfast banana split
In a bowl, top a peeled banana with Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, granola, and chopped nuts to make a healthier banana split.
21. Baked apples
After coring a few apples, fill them with a pat of butter, few spoonfuls of oats, and some cinnamon.
Cook in a slow cooker on low for about 5 hours or until soft and tender. Finally, top them with Greek yogurt for some extra protein.
22. Berry yogurt parfaits
Layer high-protein Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola for a quick and easy meal that hits multiple food groups.
23. Vegetable tofu scramble
Tofu scramble is a great option for anyone who doesn’t eat eggs but wants a high-protein breakfast.
To make it, sauté minced onion in oil and add mashed, firm tofu alongside your choice of spices and vegetables. Tasty combinations include sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes, or roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes with fresh basil.
24. Savory oatmeal with greens and cheese
Oatmeal doesn’t have to be sweet or topped with fruit. Try mixing in spinach — or any other vegetable — and cheese with a pinch of salt for a savory twist.
25. Avocado-cucumber-tomato toast
Spread mashed avocado over whole-grain toast, then top with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes for a hearty, open-faced breakfast sandwich.
The bottom line
Many healthy breakfast options can help kids get the nutrients they need for the day.
Breakfast is a great opportunity to load up on protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
These nutritious dishes can be an important step toward establishing healthy eating habits not only for your kids but also your whole family.