Why Some Kids Won’t Eat Breakfast

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They just aren't hungry, OK? Not everybody wants to eat right away when they wake up.

You’ve got your morning routine down. The kids get up, get dressed and are ready to go in no time. But what’s stopping you from heading out the door? No one has eaten breakfast!

Busy parents may sometimes forfeit the most important meal of the day while getting the kids ready. However, when you do have the time for breakfast and your child simply doesn’t want to eat, then you have a problem. No, he’s not being picky. He’s simply not hungry … so he says. This mostly happens with older children, and James Keffer, M.D., of Old Harding Pediatric Associates agrees.

He’s Not Hungry Because …

“Commonly, teens have a hard time eating breakfast,” says Keffer. “They tend to want to go to sleep and wake up later. Our society has them up and on their way to school or other activities early.” However, in order to complete the day with enough energy, kids definitely need their breakfasts. But, it’s hard for them to understand that if they’re so sleepy in the mornings. So, you’ll need to make time to help them understand. Maybe you’re the one who needs to understand they’re tired of the quick breakfast fix. You know, cereal, pop-tarts, etc.

It could be you, too. He’s noticed how you don’t eat breakfast before you dash out the door. Maybe you should take a moment to eat a healthy breakfast or snack to encourage him to do the same.

Meal Plan in Advance

“Sit down with him some afternoon and make a plan,” says Keffer. “Think outside the box of traditional breakfast foods. If he prefers healthy non-breakfast foods, feed him those for breakfast.” Keffer suggests getting your child’s input the night before, too. He’ll be most engaged when he’s fully awake and you’ll learn what he really wants for breakfast. “Having put in the work to develop the plan when he’s awake and engaged will help him eat the next day,” adds Keffer. “This can be the gateway into getting her input to plan other meals as well as to discuss what makes up healthy eating.”

A good option to consider is frozen meals. “I scramble a whole carton of eggs, a whole pack of bacon and a bag of frozen hashbrowns and cheese,” says local mom Karisa Rumsey. “Roll as much of what you want into a large burrito tortilla. Warp with Saran Wrap and place in a large freezer bag. In the morning, heat it up in the microwave for two minutes.” She adds that you can also switch it up with egg whites, spinach and Swiss cheese.

If it’s the feeling of not enough time in the morning for breakfast, then prepare some of it the night before. “I cook the bacon or sausage the night before and store in the fridge,” says local mom Gina Reel. That way all you have to do is cook up the easy stuff that morning. If he wants something fresh and not hot, consider fruits. Get a different fruit each week to keep it fun.




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