- Keep fruit washed and ready to eat in the fridge or cut up a giant bowl of fruit salad.
- Try our make-ahead smoothie packs or breakfast gorp.
- Cook double batches of Sunday pancakes, waffles, or French toast, and keep leftovers toaster-ready in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
- Brainstorm a list of ideas -- instant oatmeal, bagel with cream cheese, yogurt and granola, scrambled-egg sandwich, or our fun Banana Dog -- and post it on the fridge for brain-dead "What can I eat?" mornings.
Make it fun. For breakfast objectors, conscientious or otherwise, the morning meal might require a little extra sparkle. For instance, Sandra Waier of Felton, California, serves her kids toasted wheat bread spread with peanut butter, topped with pancake syrup, and cut up into bite-size pieces. "It's one of my kids' favorite breakfasts," she says. Or try a fun pancake-making technique: my husband, Michael, and I pour batter into a plastic bottle to squeeze out the letters of our children's names.
Slip in something healthy. Other parents use fun stealth-health techniques to sneak in bonus nutrition. The Moesner family of Springboro, Ohio, kept wheat germ in a shaker jar for their twins (then 3 years old), who enjoyed sprinkling it on their food as if it were the salt and pepper their parents used. Shaunna Privratsky of Fargo, North Dakota, grates apples, undetected, into her kids' pancakes and hot cereal. And Micha Van Cleave of Placerville, California, cools hot cereal with vitamin-rich -- and appealing -- frozen fruit chunks.
Think outside the cereal box. Who says the breakfast of champions has got to be "breakfast" food? If it's good for them and they want to eat it, let them. Leftovers such as pizza, soup, or quiche offer easy, balanced nutrition, as does a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, quesadilla, or baked potato with a little bit of bacon or cheese. Consider the typical rice and noodle morning dishes of Asia, or the simple bread and cheese meals of Europe, and let your kids breakfast internationally. Or stick closer to home and open the Rise and Shine Sundae Shop: layer fruit, yogurt, and granola into a tall glass and call it a parfait. Your kids may just think it's perfect.