A healthy morning meal doesn't just give kids the fuel they need to power through their busy day. It's also the perfect opportunity to sneak in foods they don't get enough of. While the typical American breakfast can be a great way for kids to eat more whole grains, fruit and low-fat dairy, breakfast foods inspired by cultures around the globe can help them work in vegetables and new flavors.
Because they tend to use more – and different – food groups, global cuisine choices also are smart alternatives for kids who get bored eating the same thing over and over. That's especially important because the way foods taste is a major factor in what kids do – or don't – eat.
Your kids can enjoy whole-grain cereal or waffles on some days and on other days try some of these top international picks.
- Mexico: South of the border kids eat tortillas with beans and shredded beef or chicken. Similar to a sandwich, this quick, invigorating breakfast is packed with B vitamins, protein and fiber.
- Israel: One of the biggest health benefits of an Israeli breakfast is that it includes both vegetables and fruit, as well as healthy fats. A typical breakfast consists of olives, cheese, vegetables, bread and fresh juices. A fun Israeli recipe to make with your kids is to thread chunks of cheese and vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and pitted olives on wooden skewers.
- African: A traditional African breakfast has lots of whole grains, such as grits and whole-grain toast alongside a scrambled egg. Add in a piece of fruit and a glass of non-fat milk and you've got at least one serving from each major food group.
- India: Indian breakfasts are unique because they often are vegetarian One South Indian favorite is vegetable upma, a hot breakfast made from Cream of Wheat and vegetables including onions, carrots and green beans and spiced with ginger, curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin. Simple and comforting, this warm morning meal provides plenty of iron, calcium and fiber.
- Peru: A typical Peruvian breakfast often is a corn or quinoa tamal with papaya and white cheese known as queso fresco. A weekend favorite is stir-fried steak with tomatoes and onions served with bread.
- Colombia: It's not unusual for people in Colombia to start their day with "caldos" or soup. Another Colombian favorite is arepas, bread made from corn meal and eaten with cheese or shredded beef. In the U.S., arepas can be found in some supermarkets in the cultural foods section. Try stuffed an arepa with lettuce, avocado, beans and tomatoes.