Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Whether you’re dealing with a picky eater, a mini foodie, or someone in between, you'll appreciate these easy and healthy breakfast ideas for toddlers. Most of these menu items are very quick to put together on busy mornings when you’re on the go and rushing to get your toddler ready for day care or preschool. Other ideas can be made ahead of time or are best prepared on a weekend morning when the entire family can sit down to breakfast together.

23 Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

Egg Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

1. Breakfast quesadilla. It’s the same idea as making a regular quesadilla, except that you'll stuff a pair of tortillas with breakfast fillings, such as scrambled eggs and grated cheese. You could add spinach, tomatoes, or pieces of ham, too. Put your chosen fillings between two large tortillas and sear the quesadilla, flipping once, until the cheese melts. Try using different cookie cutters to create interesting shapes — these might tempt a picky eater.

2. Breakfast taco. Use small tortillas that you can fill with scrambled eggs, grated cheese, and a mild tomato salsa. Serve the tacos folded in half or roll them up.

3. Egg in a hole. Try this for a truly creative breakfast idea: Using a cookie cutter, cut out a circle or heart from the inside of a slice of whole-wheat bread (you can save the cut-out part to eat later). Toast one side of the bread in a skillet with butter. Flip it over, and then crack an egg into the hole. Cook until the egg is set, and sprinkle sparingly with some salt. Your toddler will love her breakfast eggs served in such an unusual way.

4. Mini frittata. Beat together some eggs and add diced bacon or ham, grated cheese, and chopped chives. Pour the mixture into a mini muffin pan and bake. Let it cool slightly before serving your child and family.

5. Toddler-friendly eggs Benedict. This is a toddler breakfast idea the whole family would enjoy! Cook a fried, poached, or scrambled egg, and top it with diced ham and grated cheddar cheese (to mimic Hollandaise sauce), letting the cheese melt and the ham warm through in the skillet. Butter a toasted whole-wheat English muffin and top it with the egg combination.

6. Open-faced scrambled egg sandwich. Feel free to tailor the sandwich to your kid’s liking: Serve the scrambled eggs on a toasted mini whole-wheat bagel, English muffin, or a slice of whole-grain bread. You could also add some cut-up veggies to the scramble like mushrooms or bell peppers, or anything else you happen to have in your fridge.

Quick On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

7. Smoothie. Some of the easiest things to whip up and take with you on the go are smoothies. Smoothies are a healthy choice for your little one, who might even find it entertaining to watch you blend all the fruit and other ingredients together. Start with yogurt and any fruits of your choice, like bananas, berries, peaches, etc. Add some milk or water to help make a consistency that's easy for your toddler to drink. Serve it at home in your toddler’s favorite sippy cup or regular cup or pour it into a thermos so your toddler can sip his breakfast at day care.

8. Cold cereal. A breakfast staple in nearly every household, cereal is easy to prepare quickly for your toddler. Choose a low-sugar cereal like Os, add some milk, and top it with berries or sliced banana.

9. Hot cereal. Easy to cook up in minutes, a creamy porridge made from a single grain such as wheat, rice, or bran, or a combination of these grains, can be a nice way to start your toddler's day. Add her favorite fruit topping to make it even more appealing.

10. Cream cheese and jam on toast. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto a slice of toasted whole-wheat bread. Then add some low-sugar jam. Using a toothpick, draw some swirls through the jam and cream cheese to create a fun design or a smiley face. You might even like to write a message like “Good morning!” or your toddler’s name.

11. PB&J on toast. Spread a thin layer of creamy peanut butter (or almond butter) onto a slice of toasted whole-wheat bread. Then add a few dollops of a low-sugar jelly or jam. Take a toothpick and create a design by drawing some swirls through the jelly and peanut butter.

12. Cream cheese bagel. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto a toasted mini whole-wheat bagel, and top with sliced strawberries or sliced tomato to make either a sweet or savory version.

13. Yogurt with fresh fruit. Top some plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt with slices of your toddler’s favorite fruit. Canned fruit is fine as long as it has no added sugar.

14. Cottage cheese with apple butter. Stir some apple butter or applesauce into some cottage cheese for a quick and easy breakfast for your toddler. You could also serve some whole-wheat crackers on the side for dipping.

15. Sampler plate. Think of this as your toddler’s DIY breakfast. Go ahead and assemble a plate of fruit, such as berries, sliced apples, or sliced bananas. Have some dry cereal, and some yogurt or cream cheese for dipping. A plate with divider walls is a good choice for serving this meal. Or, you can arrange the foods to create a smiley face. Your kid will enjoy playing around and picking what to eat next.

16. Oatmeal. A classic breakfast item, oatmeal is perfect on a fall or winter day, or any time you’d like to offer your toddler something warm. Plus, it’s easy to cook in mere minutes. Just make sure the oatmeal is not too hot for her mouth before serving it. You can easily adjust the temperature by pouring some cold milk over the oatmeal. Top it with fresh berries, diced apple, or sliced banana.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

17. Overnight oats. This is a great make-ahead breakfast item as all you have to do is soak oats in milk. Swapping in almond milk is an easy way to make the breakfast vegan and dairy-free. If your toddler is sensitive to gluten, purchase oats that are certified gluten-free. Top the oatmeal with fruit. Let your child eat it cold or, if you like, warm it up in the microwave just enough to take out the chill.

18. Baked oatmeal. This breakfast dish can also be made ahead of time, or baked fresh on a weekend morning to serve to the entire family. For a classic version, mix in diced apple, raisins, and cinnamon into the batter before baking. Once baked, cut the oatmeal into squares for serving, and add a little bit of milk.

19. Pancakes. A weekend morning classic, pancakes are a surefire kid-pleaser. Choose a recipe (such as one for whole wheat, blueberry, or banana pancakes) and cook up at least one batch; if you make two batches, one can be frozen for a quick midweek breakfast or snack. When it's time for breakfast, reheat them and serve with butter and syrup. Blueberry pancakes also taste good with cream cheese, and banana pancakes are yummy with a thin coating of creamy peanut butter.

20. Waffles. If you’ve got a waffle maker, this is the perfect breakfast for a Saturday or Sunday morning for the entire family. Serve the waffles with fresh fruit such as berries or sliced banana, peaches, or plums. If you like, prepare an extra batch of waffles and freeze them individually or in pairs. Then, whenever your little one would like waffles for breakfast, toast them straight from the freezer.

21. Berry muffins. Using your favorite muffin recipe, bake a batch of blueberry muffins in a mini muffin pan. Be aware that using this smaller muffin pan means the muffins may bake more quickly than the recipe indicates. You may even consider sending your toddler to day care with a bag of muffins for himself and his friends, if the day care center allows it.

22. Breakfast bars. Skip the sugar-laden breakfast bars in the supermarket and make your own, packed with oats. Add a layer of low-sugar strawberry jam in the center.

23. French toast. Simple and easy to make when you have day old bread to use up, French toast can be turned into a fun breakfast for your toddler. Use a cookie cutter to cut the toast into interesting shapes, and serve with berries or sliced banana. Take it a step further and form a happy face using star shapes cut out of the French toast for eyes, a berry for a nose, and a smile made out of banana slices.

Creating a Well-Balanced Diet

Your toddler's healthy growth and energy levels are fueled by a varied diet that includes foods from the five basic food groups:

  • Protein foods, such as meats, poultry, fish, beans, and eggs

  • Dairy, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt

  • Fruits, with fresh, frozen, and canned varieties all OK

  • Vegetables, including dark green, red, and orange varieties

  • Grains, such as cereals, bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice.

It’s OK if your toddler doesn’t eat something from each food group at every single breakfast. What's important is that your little one gets a range of wholesome foods at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, which will balance out and meet his nutritional needs over several days.

How Much Food Is Enough for a Toddler?

Your toddler's appetite is likely to change after she turns 1 year old. You’ll notice she may not need as much food as she did before. This is because her growth rate and metabolism are changing. Your toddler needs about 1,000 calories per day, but you don’t need to count calories. Serving three nutritious meals and three healthy snacks a day is a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind that portion sizes for a toddler tend to smaller than those of an older child or adult. A typical toddler breakfast could be one egg or a half cup of breakfast cereal, plus a 1/3 cup of fruit and a half cup of milk. You may find that your toddler’s hunger levels vary from one day to the next based on things like activity levels. As long as he’s growing steadily and gaining weight, there’s no reason to worry. Your child’s progress will be checked at the well-child visits, where your toddler’s provider will check her growth against growth charts. If your child is under- or overweight, your healthcare provider can give you advice and personalized guidance on how to get your child's growth back on track. Of course, you don’t have to wait for your child’s next checkup to bring up questions or concerns. If you’re ever concerned about your toddler’s growth or eating habits, be in touch with his healthcare provider.

A Note on Picky Eaters

As they become more independent, toddlers sometimes go through a phase of picky eating, which can make mealtime feel like a battleground. Your child might refuse to eat anything at all, or decide to eat only a certain type of food. A favorite food one week could be rejected the following week. This behavior is normal during the toddler and preschooler years but eventually goes away. The best strategy is to offer your toddler a variety of healthy, tasty foods, and let her choose what to eat. Keep serving foods even if they've been rejected more than once, giving her the chance to try new foods willingly instead of it being forced upon her.

Why It’s Important to Avoid Food Bribes

It’s best to avoid bribing your child with food or during mealtime, like promising dessert if he eats his peas. It's also unwise to make comparisons to other siblings, such as by saying, “See, your big sister eats her veggies!” This added pressure can lead to eating problems in the future. Instead, keep mealtimes pleasant and relaxed, a chance for your child to learn good eating habits and to be sociable with the rest of the family.

Toddler Food Watchouts

Although your toddler will likely be eating most of the same foods as the rest of the family, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:

Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities

Around the time your toddler is trying new foods for the first time, it’s important to keep an eye out for any allergic reaction that he may have to certain foods. If your toddler has a food allergy, it would most likely be due to a food item on this list:

  • Cow’s milk

  • Eggs

  • Wheat

  • Soy

  • Peanuts

  • Tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and cashews

  • Fish, such as tuna, salmon, or cod

  • Shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster, or clams

If your toddler is allergic, you may see the follow allergic reactions:

  • Skin problems such as skin rashes or swelling

  • Breathing problems such as sneezing, wheezing, or tightness in the throat

  • Stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Circulation symptoms such as pale skin, light-headedness, or loss of consciousness.

If your toddler loses consciousness or experiences multiple symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes your child may not be allergic to a type of food but may instead have an intolerance or sensitivity:

  • Lactose intolerance. Your toddler can’t digest dairy products properly and may complain of a stomach ache, look bloated, and/or have diarrhea.

  • Food sensitivity. Your toddler could be sensitive to food dyes, additives, or preservatives in store-bought foods and may show signs of asthma.

The good news is that egg, milk, wheat, and soy allergies are usually outgrown. Most children outgrow any food allergies by the time they turn 5 years old. Peanut, tree nut, and seafood allergies may take longer. Speak with your healthcare provider if you think your child may have a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. The provider can perform tests to make a diagnosis, as well as advise you on how you can modify your child’s diet and what to do if you notice the signs of an allergic reaction.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, then breakfast can be a great opportunity to come up with creative menu ideas for your toddler. And, if you don’t like cooking that much and would rather fix something simple, then breakfast is one of those meals where you definitely have lots of great options. Think about making some breakfast meals ahead of time, such as by preparing big batches that you can freeze for later and portion out as needed. This is a nice way to make mornings less frantic. To ensure your toddler’s nutritional needs are met and to keep things interesting, aim for a mix of different breakfast foods on different mornings, such as eggy dishes, oatmeal with various toppings, healthy smoothies, and whole grain toast topped with cheese or peanut butter. The weekends are great for something fun like blueberry pancakes or banana muffins. Plus, you could even ask your toddler to help with mixing the batter or putting toppings on a bowl of yogurt. With the breakfast ideas on our list, you’re good to go. You and your toddler can have a yummy start to the day!