We can all agree that toddlers are not the most delightful eaters. These cute bundles of joy love to play with everything, including their food. In addition, toddlers and children are also very fussy when it comes to food. Even the most observant and fastidious parent can run out of toddler breakfast ideas. You cannot predict what your baby will eat or not eat on a particular day.
All of these components can add up and make breakfast times an ordeal for most households. But since there is no other supreme meal than breakfast, it is paramount that your toddler fills their belly with the best food.
Fortunately, toddler breakfast ideas are abundant. From chefs to nutritionists to doctors willing to share their experience online and offline, you and your child will have plenty of choices.
This post about toddlers breakfast covers everything from meal ideas to what time your child should eat and many more. But before we share the best toddler breakfast ideas, let us answer some important questions first.
What Is A Good Breakfast Ideas For A Toddler?
Similar to an adult, good breakfast for a toddler is one that is balanced and nutritious. In the US, the RDA recommends up to 1000 calories for children that are between 1 and 2 years old. The total calories are to be divided into three meals for toddlers and two snacks.
In addition, toddlers’ meals should include all the right nutrients to ensure they grow and develop in a healthy way. These important nutrient groups include protein, carbohydrates, fats, iron, calcium, and vitamins. The vitamins are A, C, and B12. Micronutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamins recommendations can be met over two to three days. However, macronutrient recommendations including fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, should be met on a daily basis.
Another consideration for a good toddler breakfast is to include a combination of liquid and solid foods. This is important to give variety and add different textures to the toddler’s palate. However, while giving meat or other protein to toddlers, it must not become a choking hazard. In this regard, mashing the food items or cutting them into tiny pieces can greatly help.
What Time Should Toddlers Eat Breakfast?
Since every child has different timings for sleeping and waking up, it is tricky to pinpoint the best time for toddlers to eat breakfast. For some toddlers, it can be as early as 7 am, while for some, it can be 8 or 9. In addition, you should also consider your family’s routine and the child’s naptime.
Nutritionists agree that the best time to eat breakfast is two hours after waking up. This revs up the metabolism and gives the child the energy he needs.
Toddlers generally require multiple meals in a day in addition to snacks. It is important to see that your baby is not starving until the next meal. But it is also equally important to make sure that the toddlers’ belly is not full either. So scheduling the toddlers’ breakfast time with two to three hours to spare between the next meal is a good place to start.
Here’s a sample schedule for a toddlers’ mealtime.
- Breakfast – 8 am
- Light snacks – 10:30 am
- Lunch – 12 pm
- Light snacks – 4 pm
- Dinner – 7 pm
This sample is by no means absolute. So you can tailor your toddlers’ eating schedule according to their needs. You should try to feed toddlers at fixed times every day. But resist the urge to pressure them to eat and force-feed your toddler at a particular time. The important thing is to keep the toddler’s breakfast menu wholesome, so your child gets all the nutrition.
What do You Give a 1-year-old for Breakfast?
As soon as children reach the one-year milestone, they can become very fussy with their diet. You will notice that your toddler does not eat as much or refuse to eat altogether at certain times. This can be a source of frustration for parents as well as children.
Toddlers who are about 12 months do not grow as rapid as an infant. This means that they don’t need as much food. However, your child still needs proper nutrition. So a toddlers’ diet needs to be nutritious as well as creative. Most mothers are still breastfeeding their children at this stage. So food for toddlers is called complimentary food. According to the Center for Disease and Prevention, here are some of the best complementary foods to give to toddlers for breakfast.
- Veggies – The best veggies to add to a toddler’s breakfast are sweet potatoes, cooked spinach, peas, carrots, and small quantities of beets.
- Fruits – Best fruits for toddlers include strawberries, bananas, avocados, pears, melons, and oranges.
- Whole Grains – Low sugar infant cereal, pasta, crackers, and whole-grain bread.
- Dairy – For toddlers, pasteurized yogurts and cheese are ideal.
- Protein – It can be in the form of small pieces of turkey, chicken, fish, lamb, and beef.
Toddlers do not need their food to be in a particular order. So you can gradually introduce different food groups to your child as you see fit.
In addition, it is also a good practice to encourage your toddler to drink water. The recommended volume of water for one-year-old kids is between 4 to 6 oz in a day. This is in addition to the breast milk or the infant formula that your child needs.
What Not to Give a 1-Year-old For Breakfast?
While it is important to know what to give a one year old for breakfast, a good knowledge of what foods to avoid is also crucial. According to the CDC, or Center for Disease and Prevention, the following are the foods and drinks that should be limited or completely avoided for toddlers
Foods to avoid for toddlers
- Fortified cow’s milk
- Unpasteurized food or drinks, including yogurt, cheese, milk, and juices.
- Honey and all types of food with honey in the ingredients
When toddlers ingest these three groups of foods, they can cause allergies to severe health complications. Depending on the individuals, the complications can range from diarrhea to intestinal bleeding and botulism in children.
Foods to limit for toddlers.
- Sugary foods and drinks – These include candies, cookies, ice cream, and cakes. The American Heart Association suggests not giving any food with added sugars to children below 24 months. Juices with artificial sweeteners should also not be given to toddlers. Fruit drinks, pop, soda, and flavored milk are on this list. For a child who is one year and below, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you limit 100% juice within 4 oz.
- High sodium foods – On this list are all types of canned foods, frozen dinners, and processed meats, among others.
Foods that can be a Choking Hazard for Toddlers
Toddlers are very susceptible to choking on large pieces of food. They do not know how to chew their food properly until they are about three or four years old. So they usually swallow their food. To prevent the danger of your toddler choking, here are food items that you should never give your toddlers.
- Whole grapes
- Peanuts and other types of nuts
- Any type of seeds, including pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Gummy bears
- Whole carrots
- Hot dogs
- Meat sticks
- Chunks of peanut butter
- Any type of hard candies
You can give carrots and hot dogs to a toddler for breakfast. However, make sure that you chop them into tiny pieces before giving them to a child. Another important thing about feeding a toddler is to check the temperature of the foods. Parents should always test the food’s temperature before giving it to a toddler to avoid mouth burns.
Toddler breakfast ideas
Now that we covered everything about breakfast for toddlers, here are some toddler breakfast ideas.
Breakfast Drinks Ideas for Toddlers
- Smoothies – For a toddler’s breakfast menu, Smoothies are a great addition. It can be a green smoothie with healthy ingredients such as cucumber, spinach, apples, and bananas. Berry smoothies with blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries with milk are not only nutritious but also very healthy.
- Milk – Milk is not a healthy breakfast drink for toddlers. It is a fantastic source of micronutrients such as calcium, and Vitamin D. Pasteurized milk is the best type of milk for your toddler.
Avoid giving raw milk to your toddler before he or she is more than 12 months. The best alternatives to cow’s milk include rice milk, soymilk, almond milk, and coconut milk. Unflavored cow milk alternatives are better as flavored milk contains added sugars. In addition, check for labels that are fortified with Vitamin D.
- Coconut water – Coconut water is not a conventional breakfast drink. However, it contains nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are great for children. This healthy is an acquired taste, but it is a great drink to encourage if your child does not hate it.
Egg Recipe Ideas for Toddlers
Eggs are a quintessential breakfast food for most households, and toddlers can benefit from it too. Some of our favorite egg recipes for toddlers include:
- Scrambled eggs – Scrambled eggs are nutritious and quick to make too! For toddlers, choose olive oil to prepare the eggs. You can also add other ingredients such as cheese and spinach, but only if your baby loves eating them.
- Omelet – Another classic breakfast food, an omelet, is a great choice for toddlers. It gives him the protein shot and is perfectly healthy too. Add a dash of pasteurized cheese to make it extra delicious for your baby.
- Frittatas – For toddlers, frittatas with veggies such as spinach is a great choice. However, you can skip the meat and the sausage to prevent choking.
To add visual delight, serve the eggs with chopped strawberries and an English muffin. Add a glass of milk, and your toddler will love eating his breakfast.
Pancake Recipe Ideas for Toddlers
Everyone loves pancakes, and toddlers are no different. But fussy toddlers may get bored with the traditional pancakes. So here are some unconventional pancakes to try for your toddler.
- Mashed sweet potato pancakes – Into your usual pancake batter, add mashed sweet potatoes. Add a sprinkling of cheese to add more taste.
- Banana pancakes – Pancakes with a banana also add a tasty twist to the usual pancake that your child may not be excited about.
- Grated apple pancake – Using apples in pancakes is a great way to keep it sweet without adding sugar.
Pancakes for toddlers are best served with maple syrup. In addition, a serving of chopped fruits such as strawberry and raspberry keeps the plate more interesting. You should also add a glass of milk for your toddler to wash down the food.
You can always choose to make a pancake mix from scratch. However, parents of toddlers are usually pressed for time and energy. So this whole food pancake and waffle mix is a great choice.
Toast and Bread Recipe Ideas for Toddlers
It is a great idea to start breakfast for toddlers with whole wheat bread. It is perfectly healthy for their developing bodies. While spreading the peanut butter, make sure that the butter is not too thick as it can cause choking. Toast for toddlers is best served with sliced bananas on the side.
This list of toddler breakfast ideas is by no means exhaustive. You can experiment with different food items in your toddlers’ diet.
Although babies can be fussy when it comes to eating, we need to make sure that they are eating properly as we are the caretakers of precious souls. Therefore, a wholesome breakfast is a must for every toddler.
While taking care of their breakfast, you should also listen to their body’s needs. Some toddlers may prefer certain foods, while others may be allergic to them. So you should keep a watchful eye while feeding them.
In addition to the menu, always make sure that a toddler is seated while eating. This not only develops a good habit but also reduces the chance of choking. Furthermore, toddlers should always eat while under the supervision of an adult.