My son has a big appetite and is almost always ready for the next meal, so in my home, the breakfast battle tends to center more around what to eat rather than whether to eat. But over the years, I’ve watched several of my friends fight the please just eat SOMETHING battle over and over again.
One friend once told me that she felt she spent the majority of her morning chasing her son around the house with a spoon in her hand. Finally, she gave in and let him take his breakfast with him in the car on the way to preschool.
“He’s just not hungry first thing in the morning,” she told me. “But he also can’t go all morning without anything or he’ll melt down.”
If food battles are throwing off the rest of your morning schedule, and if your commute to daycare or school is more than a couple of minutes, consider letting your kids take their breakfast to go. I did a little crowd-sourcing among our Offspring Facebook Parenting Group, as well as my own friends, to compile this list of car-friendly foods.
(Disclaimer: I won’t say some of these don’t have the potential to be messy; just that the mess should be minimized and that the benefits of them eating something outweighs the annoyance of a crummy backseat. But proceed at your own risk.)
Make a batch of mini-egg muffins ahead of time, wrap in plastic and freeze. You can microwave (or even toast them) as needed right before you walk out the door. I like this simple three-ingredient recipe, which is versatile and can be modified to include (i.e., sneak in) a few chopped veggies. You can also make these in regular muffin pans, which I often do, but the mini variety are great for little hands.
Take your inspiration from the Japanese, and create a Bento breakfast for the ride to school. A friend of mine does this regularly, and she says using a box with at least a few compartments (like this one) is key. You can close the lid while you’re shuffling everyone into the car, and then the kiddo can hold it in their lap. Fill the compartments with fruit, cheese, bread, crackers or nuts.
Waffles — sans syrup — are an easy car ride breakfast option. Toast ‘em, maybe spread a bit of butter, cut ‘em into fourths and throw them in a small snack bowl or plastic sandwich bag. For older kids who can be trusted a bit more, try a peanut butter and jelly waffle sandwich.
Pouch it up
For a burst of fruit, veggies or yogurt in the morning, stock up on squeeze pouches, which are a perfect on-the-go option for toddlers and preschoolers. These are made by a variety of different brands in all sorts of flavour combinations (blueberry-banana-flax-and-oat, anyone?). Or, for a less messy yogurt option, freeze a few yogurt tubes (like Go-Gurt), cut off the top and go.
The extra-quick options
There’s no shame in a last-minute reach for whatever is on hand and easily passed around as you head out the door. If they’ve eaten a little something and it’s not full-on dessert, let’s call it a win. A few options you might already have:
Breakfast crackers (like belVita)