Ask Ashley—Calm Moment: Reduce School-Morning Breakfast Stress

Ask Ashley Koff, RD, Calmful Living Nutrition Editor

My son is not hungry in the morning, and I don’t like to force him to eat, but I want to fuel him for the day. Any suggestions?

Sometimes it’s all a growing body can do to wake up. It knows it wants nutrients, but it also really wants more sleep to keep going about the business of recovery (which happens during sleep) that’s so critical for optimal growth. So when a child says they’re not hungry, many typically mean it. Sure, there are some days when they aren’t hungry for the healthy breakfast you present; even the kindest child can try and get a breakfast treat by making you exasperated enough to say, “OK, what will you eat? You have to have something!”

But let’s suppose that isn’t the case most often. We know a growing body needs to eat; so what are the Better Nutrition, Simplified choices?

Here’s what I recommend:

1) Give them time: We often hear “breakfast” and think we need our kids to “break the fast” as soon as they wake; but as the above suggests, they may need time awake before their hunger sets in. You can have breakfast ready as a grab ’n’ go or as something they have at home an hour or so after waking.

2) Get active: Have a morning dance party or do some jumping around, as activity wakes up the body and mind, and both are needed for hunger.

3) Break up breakfast: Have a smaller pit stop and then have a midmorning pit stop (for some kids this is their school lunch or morning break): a half banana with nut butter; organic cheese and some berries or an orange; some almonds and raisins; leftover 1/2 chicken sausage and apple slices.

4) Try liquids: Smoothies don’t just taste great and aren’t just easy to grab ’n’ go; they are also an easy way for a still-sleeping body to digest and absorb nutrients needed to deliver energy for a better start to the day.

Ashley Koff is an internationally renowned registered dietitian on a mission to improve the health of people across America and beyond through raising public awareness of the value of quality eating. Visit her site at: www.ashleykoffapproved.com