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Breakfast with children

Many parents say they find it difficult to get their children to eat a proper breakfast.

But, whatever their age, all the research shows that a nutritious breakfast is an essential way to start the day.

Here are some ideas to help make breakfast a breeze in your house.

1. Sit down and eat breakfast with your children

If you eat breakfast, your children are likely to do so too. Sit down with them for a few minutes and have your own breakfast. You’ll all benefit.

2. Make sure they've had enough sleep

If your children seem too tired to eat, take a step back and look at their bedtime routine.

3. Something small is better than nothing

Some children have very little appetite in the morning, but it is important to try to get them to eat something small.

4. Avoid arguments

A row or two over breakfast is not unusual when you factor in tiredness and time pressure.  Giving children a choice of breakfast items might help avoid this so they feel they are in control. For example, between wheat biscuits and a flaked breakfast cereal, or between wholemeal bread and a wholemeal bagel. 

5. Include a drink

Water and milk are the best choices. Children under two should have full-fat milk. If you choose a smoothie or fruit juice opt for a small glass (150mL) that is unsweetened.

6. Don't insist on breakfast cereal 

There are plenty of other options. Try yoghurt with some chopped fruit, or some toast with a chopped banana. 

If your children do eat cereal, try to give them cereal that is low in sugar. Use our cereal comparison below to check the sugar content of popular cereals. 


What is in your cereal?

Check before you choose

If the cereal name or description sounds sugary then it most likely is. Descriptions like ‘honey-coated’, ‘frosted’ or ‘chocolate-coated’ are a good give-away that they contain added sugar. Most cereals will have a label on the front of packaging like the one below. Choose more greens and ambers, and fewer reds.

The facts about your cereal


  • means low in that nutrient, and is the healthier choice.

  • means medium

  • means high

Add natural sweetness to your cereal with fruit.

Swap sugary cereals for whole-grain cereals. Whole-grain cereals Have more fibre to help out children’s digestive system and will keep you fuller for longer.

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