Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Breakfast for 3 yr olds

This post is written by Ranjani of Eat And Talk.

All this food talk has made me also ask a doubt. What do u give ur toddlers for breakfast . Right now my 3 yr old daughter still eats gerber oatmeal cereal mixed with milk. She likes it & i didn't want to change it bcos its convinient & healthy .
Its not like she is not exposed to indian type breakfast, but i give that in the evening around 4 pm or for lunch/dinner. Now cereal has become like a comfort food to her as she asks for it as soon as she gets up . She doesn't like drinking milk , so this is hassle free for me as it has milk & also oats. Its heavy so i can rest assured even if she doesnt eat snack at school ( she comes home for lunch).
But now i feel that she needs to eat some grownup cereal & not baby food. i went to the store yesterday to buy quaker oats , but found gerber had more nutrition than quaker.
right now she goes to school just once a week . it will become twice a week from september.
so can anyone suggest some quick/heavy breakfast or atleast some good cereal which kids love. Or should i continue this gerber oatmeal? I dont want to give her those fruit loops, etc as they seem to have too much sugar.

P.S. we are vegetarians , but eat egg.
thanx in advance.


Sandeepa said...

My daughter (a 3 year old) loves Kelloggs Special K with Strawberries. However on school days she has a tendency to throw up if she drinks milk for breakfast.
After this happened couple of times we have switched to bread & cheese or waffles on school day mornings. She again has a small snack around 9:30 at school

Cereal Milk is a good and hassle free breakfast choice I think. So try some grown up cereals. The kids cereals are usually loaded with sugar though kids love all the colors etc.
Try adding banana slices or honey in the milk with cereal. We used to do that when S used to have cereal & milk in the mornings

Kay said...

Ranjani, I'm just curious... What makes you think gerber had more nutrition than quaker?

No, I'm not affiliated with quaker. :)

Me too said...

Among cold cereals, Cheerios are the best(made of oats & less sugar too). I make peanut butter sandwiches for my daughter cut into strips for an 'on the go' breakfast! If your daughter doesn't have nut allergies, you can try cashew butter, almond butter etc too. Pancakes(the whole grain varieties) are good too as they are made with milk and eggs.

SJ said...

Hi Ranjani, I mostly give my 2 year old the quaker oats. I am not a morning person so making anything elaborate in the morning is not going to happen. I also give scrambled eggs, french toast (on weekends), cream of wheat, a banana.
My daughter wakes up at 7:30am and has has breakfast at daycare around 9:00am, so I mainly try to get her to drink her milk a few bites of something else.
Her daycare has a much better breakfast than anything I would end up making, I am listing some of those items below. I also have seen she eats better when sitting with other kids at daycare than at home.
They always serve some fruit along with one of the following:
cream of wheat,
cream of rice,
quaker oats (at 3 yrs you can try various different flavors to give her some variety),
french toast,
soft waffles,
low sugar fruit muffins,
granola bars,
scrambled eggs.

Asha said...


I think you should buy regular oat meal cereal with less sugar and grind them like the consistency of Gerber at first and mix half Gerber,half cereal for starters.Then slowly when she gets used the new taste,you can stop using the baby food.
Baby food is made for babies,3 yr old can use some more nutrition like us.
I agree with Fruit Loops etc,loaded with sugar which is not good at all even though they are balanced with other Vitamins etc.

Time for the "baby" to grow up!!;D

Dee said...

Has anyone thought of Idlies for breakfast? They are packed with protein and are steamed ? Once you make the dough (which I do over the weekend and use it over the week), it takes 2 mins to put it in the steamer and 10 mins to steam cook. Once its out, add some ghee to it and you have one of the most nutritious breakfasts. You can give this atleast twice a week..They are easy for grab and go too..

@ said...

Hi Ranjani, my 18mo consistently eats a homemade porridge (kanji) with yogurt for breakfast. He loves it and that is the only meal of the day that he doesnt fuss over. The kanji powder has toasted and powdered grains, nuts, sprouts. Making it is an elaborate process, but we make it in large batches that last for 2-3m, and it is the best kind of cereal,IMO, as you control what exactly goes in. Everyday I cook 2tblsp in water, takes about 10 minutes to cook, then 10 min to cool down (with some ice), after which I add yogurt and serve it. Can also add milk, but like your DD, mine refuses any milk.
On occassion, I've also given him idli, dosa, cracked wheat upma...but he prefers kanji most of all.

I wouldn't go by the nutritional data in the gerber much of that can actually be absorbed?? I would rather use quaker oats, cook it to the same consistency she's used to and add fresh or dry fruits to it. hope that helps :)

Ranjani said...

@sandeepa- R hates strawberries( she is very picky , so am always scared to change food). I'm going to try some grownup cereals..

@kay - i just compared the nutrition chart on the boxes. even i'm not affiliated with gerber;)

@me too - will try the peanut butter ones. she loves cheerios , but she doesn't like them in milk:(

@sj - even i'm not a morning person . She gets up when i get up & i have to feed her & then myself . so want something quick. very nice tips .

@asha - noooo growing up ..actually the gerber box says that it can be given upto age 4. will buy those flavored quaker oats . I can give her that on school days & giove her the more elaborate ones like idli , etc on other days.

@dee- R is a slow eater like me , so idli will work on nonschool days . u r right , idli is the best.

@@ - nice name;) can u post the recipe of the kanji? or mail it to me at

Sandeepa said...

Good to see you back. Hope everything is fine

Dee said...

In case you are not able to make the kanji yourself, you can look for 'Ramana's sathhu Maavu' in Indian store. This is specifically for kids from age 6 months up.

Sandeepa said...

If you have that product maybe you can review it with a pic, so all of us know about it

@ said...

Sandeepa: thanks, am ok -will post an update soon on my blog and my intro here.

Dee: I think I still have a packet of Ramana's at home - before giving it to K, I tried it a bit, and it was awful! maybe it was just me :( Anyway, I couldn't imagine feeding that to the kid, so decided to make our own. I have seen other brands, and maybe they taste better - as you said, Sathu maavu is what to look for.

Reena said...


I always had in mind that Gerber is for babies. So I stopped it long back. I think may be when M was 1 I guess. Don't remember exactly.

As you already know how much M is fond of milk. So that is what I give her first thing in the morning. Too much milk leads to constipation so I tried to lessen it a lot and just give her morning and evening.

I give her all sorts of things which already is discussed in all the posts. She hates peanut butter. If I list the things I give her for breakfast then

fruit loops
bread-jam sprayed with butter
1 boiled Egg daily
pancakes with fresh fruits
milk- smoothie

swapna said...

Hi Ranjani
I give my daughter indian breakfast only..she don't like cereals.Oat meal is good for health.don't worry.

Kay said...

ranjani, that's what I thought so. But just wanted to confirm.

The nutrition information on the box includes the 'added vitamins' and their amounts. The gerber oatmeal and all other child cereals have added vitamins in them. But the main thing to note is gerber is still a processed food and might not have all the real nutrition that is present in whole foods naturally.

My suggestion would be to phase out the gerber cereal slowly... You can buy 100% wholegrain oats and cook it first and then slightly blend (not like a paste; just one or two pulses in the blender) and give it..

For breakfast options other than the cereals,

1. You can make french toast and cut into small pieces.. You can even make this in bulk or even bake it in bulk and freeze it - when you need it you can pop it in the toaster and cut into squares using kitchen shears.. That would be healthy as well as quick option.

2. Add cut up banana or other fruits in oatmeal.

3. Pancakes or waffles are also easy to make. Try to use whole grain pancake mix or waffle mix, if you are using mixes.

4. Boiled egg is a very healthy option - but not everyday of the week.

5. Muffins - I've seen toddlers eat this without any fuss - and this is a hassle free breakfast too.. they even have minimuffins for kids.

5. The last but my favourite one is to make a milkshake - milk + handful of fruits + 2 tbsp cooked oats + honey/demerera sugar.

I use combinations of apple, banana, peaches, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, blueberries, mango, strawberries etc in the above milkshake. Very yummy.

Sandeepa said...

I like dyour idea of strawberries in yogurt.

I wanted to know how you freeze french toast. The way I make french tosat is the Indian way and it will definitely taste bad when frozen.

Can you please share your french toast baking and freezing ? I am sure that would be a quick and good breakfast or lunch for the toddlers

Ranjani said...

thank you all of u for the ideas..
kay - love the milkshake idea.
today i gave her idli & milk . She takes more time , but these things r ok on non school days .
so i'll give her cereal ( i'll try the quaker) on school days & idli/dosa/toast/eggs on other days..

thanx all once again

@reena- isn't egg heat for the body ? how do u give it everyday?

Reena said...

ranjani, i have one egg daily too :). M's pediatrician said it is perfectly fine.