As mom of six kids, you’d think at least a couple of them would love breakfast. They do, just not at the same time, ever. I could provide ten options for my picky ones to reject while my hungry hippos just eat whatever they can find. It seems to change with age, too, so there is no rhyme or reason to the pickiness in my house. My five year old went from the Big Boy of Breakfast last year to the Prince of Picky now that he needs to eat before kindergarten. I give myself plenty of time and coffee and I give my kids plenty of acceptable options that won’t make us late.

If you have morning help such as a live-in grandma, an au pair, or a work-from-home spouse, take advantage of their time and skills. Have them do some make-aheads (preferably with the kids’ help), encourage your kids to try something new while you’re not looking, or play restaurant on the mornings you simply don’t have time to cook. I was an easy kid – just put a bowl of cereal in front of me and I would eat, practically in my sleep. Not my kids and I’ve heard, not yours either.. Skipping is not an option, though, so here are some helps for the breakfast battle.

Make smoothies!  Seriously, so easy and basically pretty healthy, depending on what you toss in. You can’t mess them up, though you can make them gross. Make sure you don’t sneak in bananas if you’ve got one like mine who can smell or taste them a mile away. Use fresh or frozen fruit, plain or flavored yogurt, milk or juice, even frozen yogurt or yogurt tubes.

Frozen options  Breakfast burritos are a different option and come in many tasty varieties. Try to avoid the frozen waffles and pancakes the kids want to drown in syrup. Yogurt tubes make the kids feel like they are getting ice cream while we feel relieved they are eating something of substance.

Fruit choices  Fruit bars and breakfast bars are not terrible options, or keep fresh or canned fruit (you know your kids like) on hand. My kids will sometimes choose frozen blueberries to add to their breakfast, whether it be in their yogurt, on their cereal, or just pop ‘em in an melt them. My kids love celery or apples with peanut butter for breakfast, which takes very little effort and is a great start!

Make-aheads  Baked breads (like banana bread, coffee cake, pumpkin bread, etc) are quick and easy. You can even cheat and get the boxed kind (of course, I don’t). Other easy make-aheads are hard-boiled eggs or even last night’s leftovers. Really, if your kid will eat it, what is wrong with leftover pizza or pasta for breakfast?

Basic essentials  Avoid sugary junk and stick with the essentials of protein and fiber-rich foods. If you have time and your kids like, make a “real” breakfast of scrambled eggs, an egg sandwich or an egg-in-a-basket. While you may not relish “cooking” these are quick, delicious and healthy. Toast or English muffin with peanut butter or jam is easy too.

Will they starve to death if they skip breakfast? No, but they will be hungry and possibly distracted by their rumbling bellies if they do. They could also increase the changes they will become overweight (yes, by skipping the most important meal), lack energy and have more brain-farts than brain power. Convince your kids it is the LAW to eat something of substance for breakfast. They will discover soon enough what they like and what they can fit into their morning routine.

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