October 27, 2020

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Mornings are hard, but breakfast doesn’t have to be

Breakfast foods arranged on a plate to look like an owl

One kid can’t find their math book, the other is still in the bathroom and you just spilled your coffee (while trying to find the math book). Mornings are chaotic enough. And you’re supposed to make breakfast, too?


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of time to get the benefits of breakfast, says pediatric registered dietitian Jennifer Hyland, RD. But it’s well worth the (minor) effort to make sure your kids start their day with a healthy meal.

“Their breakfast should fill them up and keep them full when they go in for that first class of the day,” she says.

The benefits of breakfast

You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. No disrespect to lunch and dinner, but starting the day with a healthy meal is a worthy habit, especially for growing kids.

A full belly in the morning gives kids the energy they need to learn and grow. Researchers have found that children who eat breakfast perform better on tests of attention and memory and have better academic performance.

Morning meals are also associated with healthier body weight. Research shows that children who regularly eat breakfast are more likely to be a healthy weight than peers who skip breakfast.


How to build a healthy breakfast for kids

To put together a meal that’s nutritious and satisfying, Hyland offers some simple strategies:

Go for the dream team

Your go-to formula should be protein (eggs, cheese, nut or seed butter) plus a carbohydrate — preferably a whole grain or a piece of fruit, says Hyland. The protein keeps little bellies full, while the carb provides healthy energy.

Mix it up

Got extra time on a Saturday morning? Let your littles try something new. Blend some colorful smoothies with their fruits of choice. Or, take whole grain flatbread and cover it with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and cheese. Top it with avocado and salsa and voila – homemade breakfast pizza!

Keep it varied

Variety is the spice of life and the key to a healthy diet. You don’t have to offer a buffet every morning. But during the week, offer a variety of fruits, veggies, grains, protein and dairy.

Plan ahead

Prepping breakfast the night before can be a sanity-saver during hectic mornings. And if you’re staring down a new routine, such as heading back to school after a break, give everyone time to adapt. A week or so before, start getting them up earlier and eating breakfast. The practice runs will be worth it when (if?) your kids are actually ready on time.


Healthy breakfast ideas: A starter list

All parents need shortcuts. Hyland offers some dietitian-approved breakfast suggestions to get you started:

  • Plain Greek yogurt topped with a sprinkling of high-fiber, lower-sugar cereal and a handful of fruit.
  • Whole grain English muffin with a microwaved egg and a slice of cheese (quick breakfast sandwich).
  • Whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter.
  • A hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit (quick, out the door, protein-carb pairing).
  • Unsweetened oatmeal with a swirl of nut butter and berries.
  • Overnight oats prepared the night before – get creative with the mix-ins and let the kids prepare them.
  • Breakfast tacos (shredded cheese or scrambled eggs on a tortilla, topped with salsa).

Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated to be healthy. “It doesn’t take a lot of effort,” Hyland says. “Have things ready in the morning that they can just grab and go, even something as simple as a glass of low-fat milk and a baggie of cereal. It can be easy, and it can be fun.”

Related Articles

Meal prepping various dishes for snack, lunch and dinner
January 29, 2024
75 Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

No more scrambling to figure out what to eat during your busy week

Hand holding bowl of oats with honey, strawberries, blueberries and walnuts
January 16, 2024
Recipe: Nutty Steel-Cut Oats With Fruit

Delicious and heart-healthy, this breakfast is sure to get your morning off to a good start

Display of various types of foods prepped in individual containers
January 15, 2024
A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Meal Prep

Set yourself up for success by carefully choosing your recipes, storage containers and prepping day

male kid eating celery sticks with peanutbutter at table with homework
January 11, 2024
Snack Attack: 6 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

Look for snacks that are low in sugar and high in fiber, protein and healthy fats

Young female teen drinking canned beverage outside
December 26, 2023
The Young and the Restless: Why Kids Should Avoid Caffeine

No amount of caffeine is safe for kids under 12, and kids 12 to 17 should be cautious about how much they consume

plated Mediterranean egg scramble with avocado on top
December 25, 2023
Recipe: Mediterranean Egg Scramble With Greens

Jumpstart your morning with this delectable dish

Overhead view of Spanish omelet
December 19, 2023
Recipe: Spanish Omelet With Veggies and Cheese

Enjoy this one-skillet breakfast for dinner!

breakfast pizza with strawberries
April 3, 2023
Recipe: 5-Minute Breakfast Fruit ‘Pizza’

Who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast?!

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture