Do You Make Your Kids Eat Breakfast?

Updated on January 14, 2014
A.J. asks from Atlanta, GA
30 answers

My 10 year old has always been a great eater, but the past few months she just hasn't been hungry in the morning. I don't know what's changed, but she just flat out won't eat. She says it makes her feel nauseous. I can get her to drink hot milk, but that's it. She'll get her little hello kitty mug and drink while she's "waking up." I wouldn't really think too much of it, but because she doesn't eat in the morning now she's starving by lunch time, and then eating way more than she used to after school. She's an active kid and has always been a big eater, but I feel like 2 bowls of potato soup, a granola bar, and coconut chips (which is what she had this afternoon) is a little much for an after school snack. It's like she's still getting her 3 meals a day, just at different times. I've never been a parent who worried about food control. We eat organic, healthy foods. My kids are both healthy. So if they're hungry they eat, I don't make them hold off until meal times or make them clean their plate. I don't want to push food, but then again, I hate that she's missing breakfast everyday. So I'm kinda at a loss. Anyone else dealing with a non breakfast eater?

Just as a side note. I thought she was just bored with her breakfast options, but that didn't work. School just started back for us, and I even offered to take her to Chick-fil-a for breakfast (her fav fast food) and it was still a no.

What can I do next?

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answers from Kansas City on

I am not a breakfast person, but I know I need something. Carnation instant breakfast will tide me over. Maybe you could try something like that. It's something she can drink but does have calcium and protein and stuff to help out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I can totally understand how she feels. I'm also not a morning eater. I never was. Skipped breakfast starting in 6th grade. I just couldn't bring myself to eat anything so early in the morning. Now I start my day with a latte (with whole milk) and that carries me through to about 11:00. That's when I'm *finally* ready to eat something solid.

If she's drinking hot milk in the morning, she's at least getting some calories, protein and fat (hopefully she's not drinking fat-free milk, she does need at least a bit of fat in there).

If she's still eating a healthy balanced diet for the rest of the day and nothing else is being affected, I wouldn't force breakfast on her. She's not lying when she says it makes her feel nauseous (I used to feel the same way). Can you imagine having to eat when you actually feel like throwing up? She's listening to her body and changing her eating habits based on that. Keep offering breakfast, and she might eat it again someday, but for now, don't force her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My daughter doesn't get hungry until 9ish so breakfast before school is out. Maybe you can give her a pack of almonds that she can eat quickly between classes or something at school?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chattanooga on

Meh. I'm not much of a breakfast person, even when I was a kid.

I would try to make her breakfast smoothies or something like that. If she isn't interested in that, I wouldn't push unless it starts to affect her health.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you asked her if everything is okay at school?
Also, she has always been a breakfast eater?
Has her school start time changed? If it's a diff grade & it's earlier, that
could contribute to lack of hunger BEFORE school.
Does she take snacks to school?
Does she eat her lunch she takes with her?
For breakfast, try diff things. A breakfast bar, protein bar, an egg burrito etc.
Send her with sliced apples in the car or bus on the way to school etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

For me, eating much before 10 AM just makes me feel sick, and my youngest is the same way, so I don't push it. She also makes up for it at lunch and later in the day. Her "after school snack" looks more like something an 18 year old football player would eat, but she's a petite, healthy and active girl so I don't worry about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I don't. I encourage it but I remember feeling so sick as a kid when I was forced to eat something. I rather my kids listen to their bodies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Yes, even if it's something small on way to the bus.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I am like that - I don't wake up hungry. I'm usually ready to eat around 9 a.m. Still, your daughter does need to eat something before school if possible. My personal solution is to eat something small - a piece of toast, or a little yogurt, or a piece of fruit, or a piece of cheese.

Would her teacher be willing to accommodate her taking a mid-morning snack to school, something that can be eaten quietly and discreetly - a cheese stick or a small bag of nuts and dried fruit, for example? When my daughter was in 3rd grade, she had a classmate whose eating patterns were like this, and the teacher allowed her to step into the hallway around 10 a.m. and eat something quick. It made a huge difference in the child's ability to concentrate, and did not disrupt the class.

I just had a thought - do you give her a multivitamin in the morning? If so, it may be the vitamin, not food, that is making her feel queasy. I was one of those kids. I actually threw up every morning. I thought the problem was breakfast. My pediatrician told my mom to stop giving me the multivitamin in the morning. I stopped puking.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If I eat as soon as I get up, I feel sick. I have to wait at least 30 minutes. Don't force the issue. Provide healthy stuff or when she gets home, and maybe have something light and portable that she could eat on the way to school if she gets her appetite on the way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My 10 year old broke her foot in September (she's a competitive dance) and when she wasn't burning as many calories, she didn't want to eat. She just wasn't putting out the energy to be hungry enough to eat. I still had her eat some kind of protein in the morning. If she wanted an apple with some peanut butter, even it if was half...or one egg, something. I want to make sure she knows it's not healthy to skip meals, and she needs something even if she doesn't WANT it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

My kids didn't want breakfast for awhile. Think they were bored with the options. If she'll drink hot milk can you add some sort of Carnation Instant Breakfast type powder to it to give her some extra nutrition? Other than that and letting her take a banana, breakfast bar etc. with her for the car/bus trip to school I don't know. Maybe she just needs a little time in the a.m. before eating and that hour delay is all she needs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Mine is still pretty young, and he doesn't seem to mind having breakfast a while after he's been up. Sometimes he wakes up hungry, but we don't seem to have the problem you are having.

If that were the situation, I'd try to figure out how to get some good nutrition in him before school; that might mean waking him up earlier, which might mean an earlier bedtime. It wouldn't be convenient, but I know that the mornings when he doesn't have a good protein, I usually see him starting to go downhill-- both in mental facility and emotionally-- around 10:30. Just not as good at solving problems, short-tempered (he's usually pretty even-tempered, not falling apart at small things) and less able to focus. So, it would be smart for me to just get him up earlier and ensure he has a good meal before school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think it's important here that this is a change to the way she's eaten the rest of her life up to now. If she'd always been a light eater overall, or always been indifferent about breakfast, etc. that would indicate that she is not ever going to be a big-breakfast gal, but the fact that this is new for her makes me wonder:

Is it possible she's nervous about something at school and it takes her appetite away? Does she for instance have a first class or a morning class that is a struggle for her in some way, so right before school she's especially uptight? Is there possibly an issue on the bus, if she's a morning bus rider? You say this happened in "the past few months" and that pretty much means, since the start of this school year, right? Could there be a link?

Does her school this year start earlier or later than last year? She might feel nauseous in the mornings because she's up earlier or later than she was used to. If I wake late, I often feel nauseous because I AM hungry! But she might not recognize that the cause of her nausea is not food but the lack of food--she only knows she feels nauseous. Think about the schedule and whether this is a possible issue.

Do her teachers think she's not as focused as she should be in the mornings at school? I would ask them. There have been plenty of medical studies showing that kids who eat at least some form of breakfast do better in school -- they just can't concentrate as well if their blood sugar is too low in the mornings.

Is it possible that she's undergoing some hormonal changes? She might be on the verge of starting her period if she hasn't already. That just messes with kids in every way.

I would just matter-of-factly and calmly tell her that you do not ever want food to be an issue or a struggle between you and her, but she needs to eat at least something small every single day (yes, Saturday and Sunday too, or her body will get off kilter on weekends and it will be tougher to get her back into the habit on Mondays!). Explain to her -- talk to her like she's an adult here and she will appreciate it -- that her body needs fuel that is constant, not super amounts of fuel suddenly at lunch and again shortly after, when she comes home from school. Do some research on it along with her; there are some good web sites out there aimed at tween and teen girls, on the topic of food and eating. Let her see that this is not about mom forcing her to do something; it's about HER being mature enough to make the right choices for her body despite not "feeling" hungry.
"Five reasons for your teen to eat breakfast"
"How to get your teen to eat breakfast"
There are tons more articles out there -- let your daughter do some research herself so she feels she has some control, especially if you are going to insist that she eat at least something (and I would insist).

If it starts to become a power struggle, enlist some other trusted adult to talk to her -- a scout leader, teacher she really likes, dance teacher, sports coach, favorite aunt, whatever.

One small banana, one boiled egg, one granola bar, whatever. Something high protein like an egg or a big handful of nuts would be best and yes, even a sandwich, chicken, whatever. A breakfast shake that's high-protein. But something.

I do get that there are some people who are never into eating when they get up but it's just been shown too often that kids need something in their systems before school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter (19) and I are not breakfast eaters but we are healthy eaters.

She's started a lot more breakfast items since she moved out and started college than I do. Her routine is some Greek yogurt with granola BUT she's not on a routine class schedule like she was in elementary-grade12.

We each will snack about 10 am.

Bottom line, I never pushed it because I don't eat breakfast foods either. We do have good health routines and healthy diets... Just no " set" breakfast.

We are both active, both 5'5", both petite and less than 116# each. We follow healthy routines that don't involve eating a meal as soon as we get up and going each morning.

We do each drink a lot of water. I drink a minimum of 1 bottle if water during the night and at least 5 bottles during the day, along withy favorite iced tea and red wine.

Daughter drinks heavy on water as well. Neither of us drink sodas.

It is OK to not have "breakfast" but you need to have supplements ready for mid morning snacks which include protein.

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My daughter is only 6 but last year, she was not hungry in the mornings when it was time for 'breakfast'. Granted, we got her up at 630 to get on the bus by 7, but I figured she would be ravenous, but she simply wasn't. We ended up letting her eat breakfast at school. This year, she was eating breakfast at home and at school and when we found that out, we gave her an option of eating one or the other (at school was a social thing for her). She now wakes up (at least over Christmas break) STARVING so she'll eat first thing. I'd say to just let her eat at school for now and see what happens!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Try soup for breakfast. I like breakfast food for snacks and dinner, and I like soup for breakfast.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I am not a big breakfast eater, in the morning. I LOVE breakfast food at other times... but I have very little appetite most mornings. Sometimes until close to noon.

I was that way beginning, well... I don't know.. maybe always. I know for sure by middle school that my mom would complain that I didn't eat breakfast. She'd bring me toast and juice to my bedroom to try to get me to eat! And we did NOT have food in our rooms--house rules. I wasn't dieting or anything... back in those innocent days, I'm not sure I knew what dieting even was. I just wasn't hungry.

My daughter, 12, is very slow to eat in the mornings when she gets up. On non-school days, when she has more time, she doesn't eat right away. She likes to be up for awhile. So it may just be what her body is telling her.

Does she eat late at night? I don't mean snacks so much as "what time is dinner?" If dinner is early (6:00 ish) I'd be surprised she has no appetite. But if you have dinner later (8:00 ish or later) then it makes more sense. We often had late dinners when I was growing up because of sports schedules. I would guess that probably contributed to my not being hungry at 7:00 a.m. the following morning.

Wonder what would happen if you moved dinner up a little, and bedtime, and then woke her up 15 minutes earlier... maybe she'd be ready to have a little something?


Oh and while I don't insist they eat breakfast at their ages (12 and 15) or for the past few years, I do encourage it. And if they do not, then I insist they take something along with them for when the hunger kicks in. Daughter still takes her lunch to school daily (she hates school food), so if she doesn't eat, I will throw in an extra bag of nuts or a ZBar she can have before lunch, or later after lunch if lunch wasn't enough to last having skipped breakfast.

Same with my son (who does eat the school lunches, b/c I guess as a HS kid, he doesn't want to haul around a lunch box, lol). He will take a squeeze pack of Jason's peanut butter/honey, or some nuts, or a Zone bar. They don't leave home without some sort of breakfast. It may not be in their belly, but they have it on their person.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I have never been a morning eater...I remember my mom making me eat breakfast and how my stomach would hurt and churn all morning. Finally, she would let me go with a Carnation instant breakfast drink or bar and a glass of milk (that seemed to settle okay). And if I could get out of the house without one of those I would. My stomach still gets upset if I eat right after waking up.

I am just not ready to eat until lunchtime. My body just works that way. I have never had weight issues and have never been on a diet (other than losing baby weight). My husband seems to think that because I go from my bedtime snack until lunch the next day it functions as intermittent fasting and my body uses what it stores in a fat cells very effectively. His theory.

Anyways about two or three mornings a week my daughter doesn't want breakfast and so I let her go without...I don't want her to sit in class with an upset stomach like I had to so many mornings. My son could eat a horse every morning three bowls of cereal and fruit and a glass of milk. So, I let him eat until he is full.

If it isn't effecting her school performance then I would let it go...maybe she will have a growth spurt and want breakfast again.



answers from Los Angeles on

Mine normally eats something--even if it's small.
What about fruit, a smoothie, yogurt?



answers from Chicago on

No. My kids are very much like me: not hungry when first getting up. I have to be up at least an hour before I can eat or I can get nauseous. My kids started getting this way around 7 yrs old and my 5 yr old has always been like this. When my older kids were younger, they were allowed to have a small snack with them at school and would take a granola bar to eat around 10 and then lunch was 11:30



answers from San Francisco on

My GD stopped eating breakfast before school a long time ago. She's just not hungry. They are allowed to eat a snack before morning recess so I just make sure she has something for snack and she does just fine. She is hungry after school, but not to the extent you describe.



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. I just sent you a PM with more info.




answers from Oklahoma City on

The kids eat breakfast at school. They're just not hungry when they first wake up so we let them wait until they get there. They get to sit with their friends and since the friends are eating they eat too.

If she doesn't want to eat then don't make her. She's old enough to know if she's hungry or not.



answers from Orlando on

my daughter is 11 and she has always eaten breakfast. this year she started middle school so i am not home 3-4 mornings out of the week before school and i've noticed she is skipping breakfast. the mornings i'm home i try to encourage her to eat .... but she says she is not hungry. (this is a change) .... so i at least get her to eat a banana or a yogurt. but that is about it. i ask her if she is starving by the time lunch comes? and she says no.



answers from Chicago on

If she's passing on her favorite fast food as an option, then she really isn't that hungry. This year, my oldest son (1st grade) became much less of a breakfast eater, too. There are days when he'll eat, and I've just come to accept that he just might not be a breakfast eater. He eats fine the rest of the day and is not overly hungry after school. It doesn't seem to have affected his performance or attention at school yet either. If it's not affecting her at school, then she's probably fine. My younger son is not a big lunch eater. He insists he only wants a half sandwich then is starving after school so he eats a big snack and still eats dinner. If I send a whole sandwich or more food, it doesn't get eaten. My pediatrician said kids are much better at following their body's cues to eat than adults who eat/overeat for emotional reasons, boredom etc.



answers from Dallas on

Not with my 10 yo, she takes a snack to school if she's not hungry for breakfast. I do make my 11 yo eat breakfast as he is very thin and on medication that suppresses appetite that he takes in the morning, so I need to make sure he gets some good calories in before the medication kills his appetite.


answers from Hartford on

If my children aren't hungry then I don't make them eat. I don't eat when I'm not hungry. It makes no sense to teach a child to ignore the feelings and eat anyway... to overeat. The feelings of nausea are her body's way of saying, "Nope, sorry, no way."

If she'll drink something maybe she'll try Carnation breakfast. Those are drinkable. Open a packet and put it into hot milk, like cocoa. There are different flavors.

Have her bring some fruit and breakfast-y options with her to school, and maybe she'll eat with her friends. One of my daughters for a few years wouldn't eat at home at all in the morning but ate breakfast daily at school with her friends because she had awakened enough to feel like eating and she also enjoyed and enjoys the social aspect (she still often has breakfast at school).

Make sure that she does have a good lunch, snack, and dinner. I've never been a breakfast person. I dislike most typical breakfast foods. My breakfast is usually coffee.



answers from Honolulu on

I don't force breakfast on my kids.
Much less myself.
We are not heavy eaters in the morning.
A banana.
A yogurt cup.
Cup of milk.
No biggie.
My kids, as well as most kids at my kids' school, bring snacks to school too, for during recess. And after school, my kids DO eat. Another "meal." And they also eat dinner. No biggie.
Because the food they eat is healthy and not junk food.

Take her to the Pediatrician. For her annual.
See if your daughter is fine.

But, at least in my city, the public schools also serve breakfast.
Many of the kids, eat breakfast at school.

Or, does your daughter have eating disorders???
Being she is that age, and what not, well, some girls begin to get hung up... on eating or what they look like.

My kids are good eaters.
They go by their body's cues.
They eat their meals and graze... throughout the day.
Their growth/percentiles are "perfect" according to the Pediatrician.
At growth spurts, they eat a ton more, AND more frequently.
If/when they don't eat "normally" it is usually because they are sick.

If anything, take your daughter to the Doc.
AND also, IS SHE REALLY... eating lunch, at, school????
I work at an elementary school... and everyday, I see, kids who do NOT eat lunch, even if they are hungry and starving.
1) they don't like their home lunch, or
2) they don't like the school lunch that day or,
3) they are too tired to eat... due to lack of sleep. They actually tell me this.
4) they have eating, hang ups



answers from Pittsburgh on

If she has always eaten breakfast in the past then I think I would discuss with her pediatrician about her feeling nauseous first thing in the morning. I also would not give milk if her stomach is upset. You should avoid dairy with stomach distress which I would consider this.

No, I would not let my kids go without breakfast. If they had an upset stomach I would offer them either bananas, applesauce, rice, or toast.

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