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Breakfast with children

Many parents say they find it difficult to get their children to eat a proper breakfast.

But, whatever their age, all the research shows that a nutritious breakfast is an essential way to start the day.

Here are some ideas to help make breakfast a breeze in your house.

1. Sit down and eat breakfast with your children

If you eat breakfast, your children are likely to do so too. Sit down with them for a few minutes and have your own breakfast. You’ll all benefit.

2. Make sure they've had enough sleep

If your children seem too tired to eat, take a step back and look at their bedtime routine.

3. Something small is better than nothing

Some children have very little appetite in the morning, but it is important to try to get them to eat something small.

4. Avoid arguments

A row or two over breakfast is not unusual when you factor in tiredness and time pressure.  Giving children a choice of breakfast items might help avoid this so they feel they are in control. For example, between wheat biscuits and a flaked breakfast cereal, or between wholemeal bread and a wholemeal bagel. 

5. Include a drink

Water and milk are the best choices. Children under two should have full-fat milk. If you choose a smoothie or fruit juice opt for a small glass (150mL) that is unsweetened.

6. Don't insist on breakfast cereal 

There are plenty of other options. Try yoghurt with some chopped fruit, or some toast with a chopped banana. 

If your children do eat cereal, try to give them cereal that is low in sugar. Use our cereal comparison below to check the sugar content of popular cereals. 


What’s in my cereal?

We compared the most popular cereals in Ireland and Northern Ireland to see which is healthier by looking at the overall nutrition content.

We found that:

  1. There is no real nutritional difference between brand and shop-brand cereal products.
  2. You should always check that your cereal is:
  • A source of or high in fibre
  • Fortified with iron
  • Low in sugar
  • Low in salt

You cereal comes

Compare your cereal

Order Brand Serving Sugar (g) Salt (g) Fibre (g)
1 Oats 40 0.4 0.01 3.7
2 Wheat biscuit cereal 2 biscuits 1.8 0.1 3.9
3 Malted shredded wheat cereal 30 3.3 0.13 3.4
4 Crisped rice cereal 30 1.6 0.19 0.64
5 Multigrain hoop cereal 30 5 0.16 2.8
6 Granola 30 5.2 0.01 2.3
7 Corn flaked cereal 30 1.9 0.22 0.8
8 Rice and wholewheat flakes 30 4.4 0.16 0.9
9 Chocolate crisped rice cereal 30 5.2 0.16 3.7
10 Cereal pillows with milk chocolate filling 30 6.7 0.17 1.4
11 Honey nut corn flake cereal 30 8.7 0.18 0.7

Always check the label for sugar content.

Low in sugar is 5g or less per 100g.

If the label is colour coded:

  • means low in that nutrient, and is the healthier choice.

  • means medium

  • means high


Add natural sweetness to your cereal with fruit.

Swap sugary cereals for whole-grain cereals. Whole-grain cereal have more fibre which will keep you fuller for longer and help children’s digestive system.

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