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Choose Well

Keep convenience foods to a minimum because they are often loaded with added fat, sodium, and sugar.

"A little sweetness is a great way to work in good nutrition," says Sally Kuzemchak, RD, a nutrition consultant in Columbus, Ohio, and creator of the Real Mom Nutrition web site.

But don’t overdo it. 

If your kids eat sugary cereals, wean them by mixing in cereals that are lower in sugar. Serve hot cereal, such as plain oatmeal, and add your own sugar or dried fruit to cut down on the sweet stuff, too.

Serve the most nutrient-rich foods possible, such as whole-grain breads and cereals; orange juice with added calcium and vitamin D; fortified eggs; and by preparing hot cereal with milk instead of water.

Making Time for Breakfast

Ease the morning rush by having on hand foods that children can easily put together. For example, older kids can make their own whole-wheat toaster waffles, peel hard-cooked eggs and prepare scrambled eggs, and pour themselves a bowl of whole-grain cereal to top with low-fat milk and fruit.

  • Make it routine. Stick to a morning schedule and establish a set time for breakfast.
  • Limit young kids' breakfast choices. "It cuts down on negotiation time," Kuzemchak says. 
  • Get up 10 minutes earlier.
  • Sit at the table to eat, without TVs, computers, or video games, to prevent distractions.
  • Get older children to help feed the younger ones, or ask a neighbor to help.
  • Pack a grab-and-go breakfast the night before.
  • Take care of other morning chores, such as packing lunches and laying out clothes, before bedtime.