Breakfast Protein Ideas for Picky Eater?

Updated on August 26, 2011
T.C. asks from Round Rock, TX
21 answers

Breakfast is usually my 9-year-old son's best meal of the day. With his ADHD meds he has no appetite for lunch, dinner, or snacks. But lately he has stopped eating some of the breakfast items that he used to like, and I'm looking for some new protein sources. He still likes many kinds of fruit, whole wheat toast with cinnamon sugar, hash brown potatoes, pancakes, or waffles. On our summer trip he mostly had dry cereal- first a bowl of a sugary cereal and then a second bowl of raisin bran or cheerios. At home, I try to serve him a balanced breakfast. I worry that he's eating too much sugar which will wear off quickly.
He has never liked sausage patties, but for 2 years he liked sausage links. Last year he liked bacon, regular or turkey, but has gotten tired of it. He used to eat scrambled or hardboiled eggs if I was the one who cooked them, but now won't touch them. What's left is cottage cheese, yogurt(only Yoplait Splitz), and milk. Any creative ideas on what else to try?

ETA:Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I'm sure they will help a lot of other people too, especially those not limited by the pickiness problem! Some of these ideas we have tried before(and will surely try again). Peanut butter-he likes mixing it with powdered sugar and cinnamon to make candy dough, but won't eat it on bread. Currently does not like hamburger, avocado, bananas, sweet potatoes, gravy, smoothies of any kind, real yogurt(even with sugar or fruit mixed in), breakfast tacos(sometimes picks at the potatoes or bacon). The salt& pepper grinder(he calls it salp) worked great- last year. Getting him to eat meat at dinner is a struggle too, but that does mean we have plenty of leftover pork chop to work with. He loves the breads with nuts & grains, so that's a great idea for adding to waffles. I had forgotten about quinoa, he does like it. He likes raw oatmeal with brown sugar. Ham and turkey lunch meat will work. He likes all kinds of fruit- but I hadn't really thought about how some of them have more sugar. Momma L.- I asked at a restaurant once and the eggs like over easy but well done- they said to ask for "eggs over hard". I used to make it for him and cut it into little strips he could eat with his fingers.

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So What Happened?

Today's breakfast: canteloupe, nectarine, cherries, 1/2 hash brown patty, 1/2 slice of turkey bacon, 1 ounce of parmesan cheese, and tried a few bites of sausage pancake on a stick. 1/4 cup chocolate milk, and tasted my chocolate soy milk.
My husband is going to buy nutella, I think that's what we'll try next.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

Does he like "dinner" proteins. there's no law that says you can't have a pork chop for breakfast :) I try to make extra meats for dinner, because it's the easiest way to get my daughter to eat breakfast.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

peanut butter on his toast

hashbrowns, with some scrambled egg mixed in?

pancakes or waffles with nuts added

fruit smoothie with protein powder

hard boiled egg (my husband eats two every morning)
Oh wait. You said that one. Maybe try getting him a salt grinder or something more 'fun' to make eggs fun. Look at these too. SO CUTE!

Here in Texas we do breakfast tacos:
chorizo and egg
bean and cheese
potato and egg
potato and bacon
sausage and egg ............

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

It doesn't need to be "breakfast" food. How about a sandwich, lunch meat, tuna, cheese, peanut butter, etc, whatever he likes. Heck, maybe even a hamburger or leftovers from the night before!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

One fun thing you can try is "eggs in a hole".
My mother in law told me about this one and although it doesn't sound very appetizing, little kids really like it. For the novelty.
Take a piece of bread and on a plate, use a round glass or cookie cutter to cut a shape out of the middle of the bread.
Toast one side of the bread and place it butter side down into a skillet. Add an egg to the hole. Cook and flip.
You can butter the piece that was cut out and put in the pan to toast.
Every kid I've ever known thought it was great fun.
Simple eggs and toast.
He might like the eggs if you get more creative with them.
What about a fried egg sandwich on a bun with lettuce like a burger?
It's worth a try.

I'm sure you'll get some great responses.
Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I once read an article written by a doctor who's son has ADHD. He would give his son a corn dog for breakfast. His son loved them and it would give him a decent balance of protein and carbs. Now, I can't think of many less nutritious foods than a corn dog (surprised that was coming from a dr.) however, I suppose it does the job for the picky eaters. Hey, if he likes chicken strips or steak, or sausage pancake wraps on a stick, give it to him in the AM. I think boiled eggs are a great thing for breakfast. My ADHD son likes them but doesn't love them. I have to sit there and feed him like a baby sometimes because he's in la-la land at breakfast unless he really loves what he's eating. He likes deviled eggs more (w/o the pickles). Sometimes he rejects them though. Feed him dinner for breakfast and stay away from the breakfast cereals. Stay away from cows milk for ADHD (I'm sure you are already aware). Cheese is okay. You can also make him mini skewers for breakfast. Put cubes of cheese and ham on toothpicks and serve it with berries. Make a ton of them at one time and store them in a container. I also make a customized trail mix for my son. I have slowly trained him to like nuts. He used to not like the texture. I started him out with chocolate covered almonds. Now I go to the grocery bins and buy bags of pumpkin seeds, dry roasted almonds, choc covered almonds, yogurt covered raisins (not many of these), cashews and mix in some corn chex. When I get home, I mix it all together and make individual baggies of a half a cup of the mixture. Easy snacks already to go for 2 weeks! Both of my kids also like frozen waffles with almond butter spread on top (and a little honey too sometimes). Add a second waffle and call it a waffle sandwich. Oh, what about mini egg muffins? Scramble eggs with a little milk, add a large handful off his favorite shredded cheese (add crumbled bacon or sausage too, if he likes it). Fill greased mini muffin pans and bake until done. My kids LOVE these! I make a ton and reheat them in a toaster oven for breakfast. My ADHD son is VERY picky too. However, things are slowly starting to improve as I bribe him to try things and he discovers he really does like them. Most of this is his stubbornness. It has taken me years to get to the point that I'm at (and I have a long way to go with him...he's 7 now). I'm pretty mean about his veggies. He would only eat broccoli for 3 years so I would butter it, make it soft and make him eat it every night. If he didn't eat it one night, he was allowed nothing sweet in his diet until he decided to eat his broccoli again. It only takes about 3 days before he caves and eats the broccoli. He still tries to pull this on us and usually gives up within 24 hrs. I explain how veggies are no ones favorite but we eat them because they protect our cells. Now we are working on raw carrots. He will eat about 2 of the petite raw carrots. Lastly, I make them homemade pancakes and freeze them between waked paper. I sometimes mix in cooked fruits (cinnamon apples that I have made in a skillet, raspberries, etc.). Be sure to add vanilla protein powder to the batter. I do not allow syrup. He can have a little cool whip on it though. He's used to eating them plain most of the time. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Peanut butter smeared on toast, sprinkled with cinnamon. My son LOVES it. :
Handful of roasted or raw almonds and a couple of strawberries.
Oatmeal (with a sprinkle of sugar on top and a few tablespoons of milk added, then stirred). We like to put it on toast.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Buy a good protein supplement powder. You know, the kind that bodybuilders use? Nothing with other vitamins and stuff in it, just protein. GNC makes an excellent Chocolate one. There's no sugar in it, you mix it with milk or water, and it tastes AWESOME. I get the whey protein for my kiddoes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Besides cottage cheese, yogurt and milk, there is also regular cheese -- no reason not to eat that for breakfast other than tradition.

For yogurts, switch to the "Greek yogurts" like Oikos brand now in markets. Compare their protein content to that of any other types -- Greek yogurt usually has about twice the protein of other types of yogurt, no matter what the brand! Yoplait yogurts not only have a lot of sugar, they contain artificial colors -- that's why I stopped eating them --and a kid with ADHD probably doesn't need any more artificial anything in him. If he refuses to eat any yogurt other than his Yoplait you might need to have that "disappear" for a while in favor of Greek yogurts and just keep pushing it. We eat very little meat and Greek yogurt is a big part of my daughter's protein.

You can get protein-fortified bread for his wheat toast. Also see if he will try other types of cold cereal that are protein-fortified. Also I believe there are some frozen waffle brands that may be protein-fortified; look at stores like Whole Food Market for those kinds of products.

You're right to want to push the protein in the a.m. The sugars he's eating, and that includes the sugars from carbs like breads, waffles and pancakes, will burn off quickly and give him a "sugar crash" that he does not need. See if you can switch everything to 100 percent whole wheat (including pancakes and waffles) and reduce some of the carbs in favor of the proteins. Eggs are fantastic for protein; do you think he'd try them fried or poached if he won't eat them the old ways he liked?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Put peanut butter and honey on his pancakes and waffles. ANy carbs (like pancakes/waffles/toast) has loads of sugar and needs to be supplmented with a protein to regulate the blood sugar so he doesn't crash.

So, try eggs over easy (well, that's what is called but I like mine more done and slightly crispy).

You can make a breakfast casserole with eggs. Breakfast burritos w eggs/meat a bit of cheese and tomatoes rolled up in a tortilla.

Quinona, avocado with a dash of salt, chocolate protein shakes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

hotpockets brand pocket sandwiches makes a breakfast type pocket that might interest him being that it is surrounded by the pocket. Perhaps Pigs in a blanket pancakes rolled around sausage. and tell him what you call it if you think he will get a kick out of it. Also since he likes fruit blend his favorite fruit with a glass of milk or yogurt or a little of both. This may sound weird but when I was a kid I quite often ate for breakfast what we had the night before for dinner. So if he liked and you still have a protein source left from dinner offer that to him. Peanut butter and celery and raisins again tell him what it called (ants on a log) if that will make it more interesting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My kids love bean and cheese tacos for breakfast and they just take a second if you keep the ingredients in your fridge. I will open a can of fat-free refried beans and put it in tupperware in the fridge and it lasts the whole week for the tacos.

Sometimes I give my kids a piece of lunchmeat or salami as we're walking out the door--their school serves breakfast, but I think it needs a protein supplement.

I like using peanut butter as a dip for my banana. That might work if he doesn't want it on bread, but loves fruit. Apple slices can be dipped too. There's a super-yummy chocolate peanut butter spread by Maranatha (I've found it at HEB) that is even better than pb as a fruit dip, but even higher in sugar and fat than peanut butter...but it can't be worse than the corn dog that doctor GG read about suggested!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Protein shake like a slim fast.. The new cannon Greek yogurts are tasty my kids eat those but not any other brand of greek yogurt. Greek yogurts are high in protein.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

It sounds like he is getting a lot of sugar or foods that turn to sugar quickly in the system. Will he eat beans? I make wheat tortillas with a small amount of refried beans with quesidillas(sp). Our kids both like fresh nuts. I prefer the natural no salted nuts and the kids do too. The canned nutts have a very oily textrue and taste which we dont care for. There is a breakfast corn dog with sausage and pancake (instead of hotdog and corn bread). Will he eat cheese and ham rolled up together? Have you taken him to Sonic for breakfast and see what all he will try. My mom use to make a breakfast pizza ( pillsbery pie crust (i think) with all sorts of chopped up fruit and little bits of potatoe with bacon and cheese perhaps these were two different pizzas one with fruit one with meat. look up

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Doesn't have to be 'breakfast' food. Whatever meat he is currently into, that'll make an excellent breakfast!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have a friend whose daughter has this issue. Because of her ADHD meds, they feed her a big breakfast, she eats almost no lunch, then they have both an early (right after school) and a later dinner for her each night.

I have protein shakes every morning made with 'Spiro-tein' powder in Vanilla flavor mixed with milk. You can add fruit, or chocolate, or whatever flavors he likes.

I wouldn't recommend most "protein" shakes like Slim-fast since they are very high sugar.

My daughter sometimes likes ham and cheese for breakfast. Think outside the "breakfast foods" realm for new ideas. There is nothing wrong with him eating dinner at breakfast time, if he's open to that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Nut or sunflower butter on whole grain toast
Quinoa cooked in milk
Black bean burritos (roll up cooked black beans -we cook with cumin and garlic - with all sorts of things - scrambled eggs - my son loves them this way, not so much plain, a scoop of plain yogurt, salsa, peppers, grains)
Poached eggs - if you trim them he may like the regularity of them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son has been eating whole grain waffles with Nutella and he LOVES it. He won't eat peanut butter, so the nutella is a nice substitute (although much more sugar.)

I wonder if he would eat eggs if you made them into a breakfast burrito.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Didn't read through all the answers to see if this was already suggested, but maybe Canadian bacon? I sometimes make it into a breakfast sandwich like at McDonald's, with egg, cheese, and an English muffin.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When my boys were younger they had the Shaklee Meal Shakes. When my niece visits she asks for them.
Let me know if you are interested.



answers from Tampa on

Protein shakes with their favorite ice-cream and favorite fruits.



answers from College Station on

WOW! And I thought I had a picky eater! All kidding aside, your son has a very carb heavy diet. It sounds like he is addicted to carbs. Yes, this can happen. THere is very little protein the those foods that you listed.

My 7yo doesn't like meat, either, but he loves ham, cheese and eggs.

Try making an omelet. You can put in some ham and cheese- all extra protein. With his limited likes, I would still try to limit his carbs.

Cheese, pudding, quesadillas (just cheese and tortilla) or grilled cheese with lots of cheese. Jell-o (I would go with some homemade- just knox gelatin and some juice since the additives in jell-o brand are terrible).

I would also go to his dr and ask for another medication- one that is not an appetite suppressant.

I have big opinions on ADHD and medication, that I will keep to myself. I have 3 boys with ADHD that are non medicated. Send me a message and I will tell you what we do.

Good Luck!

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