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What's a healthy breakfast for a picky 6-year-old?

Asked by Cecilia, Orlando, Florida

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What kind of breakfast can I prepare for a 6-year-old who doesn't like cereal, oatmeal or eggs? I want to make sure she gets a healthy breakfast but without the eggs and cereal it is kind of impossible. Thanks

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Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Cecilia. This is a great question, as skipping breakfast has been linked to childhood obesity, diminished health and nutrition status and compromised school performance. Breakfast quality is just as important as consuming breakfast regularly. Research shows that eating a lower glycemic index breakfast (one that raises blood sugar levels more gradually), can improve school performance and may also help with blood sugar control throughout the day. Whole grains are generally lower glycemic, as they are higher in fiber and less processed. In addition, adding lean protein or healthy fat to a meal decreases the glycemic index, so there are lots of healthy options beyond cereal, oatmeal and eggs. Here are a few suggestions:

1. PB&J: Peanut butter (trans fat free) and jelly (no sugar added) sandwich on whole grain bread (if your child doesn't like whole wheat bread try whole wheat white bread instead)

2. Fruit smoothie: Combine fresh or frozen fruit with one-half cup low-fat milk and one-half cup yogurt for a creamy and healthy breakfast smoothie. You can also add a little juice (no more than 4 ounces) to increase sweetness.

3. Yogurt parfait: Combine low-fat yogurt (plain is best but vanilla is good, too; it is lower in sugar than fruit-flavored options), one-half cup fresh fruit, and 2 tablespoons of chopped or whole nuts.

4. Cottage cheese and fruit: Low fat cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein. Add your own fruit (pineapple and peaches work well) rather than buying products pre-packaged with fruit, which tend to have added sugar.

5. Grilled cheese: If you are looking for a hot breakfast option, you might want to try a grilled cheese sandwich on whole grain bread (or white wheat) for a healthy dose of calcium, protein and fiber. Add a side of fruit to boost nutrients even further.

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