Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for growing kids, for many reasons. For starters, it’s the first opportunity to get nutrient-dense, satiating foods into your system that can either keep you full and energized until lunch, or send you for a sugar crash by 10 AM. It can also set the tone for your day of eating. Making a healthy choice for breakfast can lead to more nutritious meals later in the day.
If you’re feeding a growing young person and want to optimize their nutrition at breakfast, it might be easier than you think, even with a picky eater. There are plenty of healthy breakfast recipes and easy-to-throw-together meals that are both packed with the nutrients your kid needs. Plus they taste great, even to picky eaters.
We’ve rounded up some of the best kid-approved breakfast recipes to promote healthy development and strong bones.
4 Kid-Friendly Breakfasts for Healthy Bones
1. Yogurt Parfaits
Let kids design their own breakfast with fun layered parfaits. If you offer healthy ingredients like plain yogurt, whole grain granola and fresh fruit, kids can use their culinary creativity to build their own delicious breakfast. As a bonus, they’ll also start their day with a high-calcium meal. Studies show that adequate calcium intake can help children reach peak bone mass and avoid osteoporosis later in life.1
Look for plain sugar-free yogurt to avoid added sweeteners. A 170-gram single-serving container of non-fat Greek yogurt contains 18% of the daily recommended intake of calcium.
2. Chia Pudding
Chia seeds are naturally rich in fiber, iron, magnesium and calcium. And when you turn them into a spoonable pudding with cow’s milk or calcium-fortified dairy-free milk, it’s like eating dessert for breakfast. You can flavor homemade chia pudding however you like. Try adding pumpkin puree, nut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, a drizzle of maple syrup, or a swirl of fruit jam.
Iron and magnesium both play an important role in building a strong skeletal system. According to the National Institutes of Health, children between 1 and 3 years old need 80 milligrams of magnesium per day, while 4 to 8-year-olds should consume 130 milligrams per day. One ounce of chia seeds contains 95 milligrams of magnesium.2
3. Veggie Omelette
Making an omelette for breakfast is a great way to incorporate more colorful and vitamin-rich vegetables into your morning meal. Add leafy greens like kale and spinach to sneak in more iron. Red bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms all pack their own long list of nutritional benefits. A bit of cheese can add some extra calcium.
Not to mention the eggs themselves, which are one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium that keeps bones strong and prevents bone-related disease. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. And though we can absorb this essential vitamin from sunlight, clothing and sunscreen significantly reduce our exposure. Adding eggs to your diet is a tasty way to get closer to your target vitamin D intake. One large egg contains 11% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.
4.Peanut Butter and Banana Toast
This five-minute breakfast is kid- and adult-approved. Use whole-grain toast for added fiber and natural unsweetened peanut butter to avoid added sugars and oils. If your child can’t have peanuts, almond butter or sunflower seed butter make great allergy-friendly substitutes.
The sliced banana on top adds a nice sweetness to this breakfast, but it’s also packed with bone-healthy nutrients, including magnesium and potassium. One medium banana contains 12% of the daily recommended intake of potassium, which is shown to help prevent calcium loss from bones and improve bone mineral density.4
If you struggle to make sure that your kids are meeting their nutritional needs every day or just want to make sure you’re closing any potential nutrient gaps, a supplement designed for bone health is an easy solution. Bone health supplements that contain magnesium, calcium and zinc will help ensure that your child develops a strong and robust skeletal system for life.
1 Stallings VA. Calcium and bone health in children: a review. Am J Ther. 1997 Jul-Aug;4(7-8):259-73. doi: 10.1097/00045391-199707000-00007. PMID: 10423619.
3 Holick MF. Vitamin D and bone health. J Nutr. 1996 Apr;126(4 Suppl):1159S-64S. doi: 10.1093/jn/126.suppl_4.1159S. PMID: 8642450.
4 Kong SH, Kim JH, Hong AR, Lee JH, Kim SW, Shin CS. Dietary potassium intake is beneficial to bone health in a low calcium intake population: the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) (2008-2011). Osteoporos Int. 2017 May;28(5):1577-1585. doi: 10.1007/s00198-017-3908-4. Epub 2017 Jan 16. PMID: 28093633.