When my 6-month-old ate anything I put in front of him — including broccoli, avocado, peas, spinach, and asparagus — I thought I had it made. “Look at all these green veggies he loves!” I naively thought. Well, that quickly changed as his first birthday passed, and he got pickier and pickier, and his fruit and veggie intake lowered and lowered. To add to that, what little ability he had to sit and wait for me to prepare meals all but disappeared. At first I admitted defeat and assumed I just wasn’t going to have a kid who willingly ate his veggies like I thought. He’d be addicted to carbs and anything that crunched just like the rest of us.
That is, until I came up with meals he already liked, and made sure to sneak some fruit and veggies in there. All of this wasn’t an effort to be sneaky, mind you, but to remind him he actually likes them. Pumpkin pancakes instead of plain; spinach in his fruit smoothies; zucchini in his beloved banana bread; and more.
Here are 10 of my favorite toddler breakfasts, all of which are loaded with fruit and veggies. Bonus: They can all be made ahead of time!
1. Breakfast Burrito
This make-ahead breakfast burrito is loaded with veggies: red, orange, and yellow bell peppers; mushrooms; and kale. Saute the veggies for a few minutes then toss in some eggs mixed with milk (I used almond milk) and give them a quick scramble. Wrap them in a burrito and serve immediately, or wrap them in plastic wrap and foil after they’ve cooled and store them in the freezer. Then all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for an instant veggie-packed breakfast. Mix up the veggies for variety: tomatoes, onions, green peppers, asparagus, sweet potatoes … the possibilities are endless. Serve the burrito with a side of fruit like this ready-to-eat Del Monte Fruit Burst Simply Fruit pouch.
2. Green Smoothie Cubes
One of the easiest breakfasts to fix ahead of time and serve is a smoothie. Kids love ’em, and they’re easy to take with you if you’re in a hurry. Although smoothies are easy enough to fix in the morning by tossing everything in the blender, I find it even easier to make a huge batch ahead of time. I freeze them in ice cube trays and then pop them in smaller resealable bags so I can pull them out as needed. If I know I’m going to use it soon, sometimes I’ll freeze a smoothie in a mason jar, and then put it in the fridge overnight to thaw. The toddler and I both love these, and they’re completely flexible: I usually start with almond or coconut milk and banana, then toss in whatever we have on hand, making sure to include something green like spinach or kale. I’ve even used broccoli!
3. Snack Tray
Who says breakfast has to look like breakfast? Chop up whatever fruit and veggies you have on hand, and make a snack plate. Kids think it’s way more fun than just eating a bowl of vegetables. Here I have Del Monte pineapples and mangoes from a fruit cup, matchstick carrots, colorful and assorted types of bell peppers, blueberries, quartered grapes, frozen peas, potatoes with peppers and onions, cannellini beans for some protein, and Greek yogurt for optional dipping. Dig in!
4. Pumpkin Pancakes
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love pancakes — especially kids. Again, the options are limitless, but one of our favorite varieties is pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of sugary syrup, drizzle them with pureed fruits and veggies, such as as the Del Monte Fruit Burst Fruit and Veggie pouch. An easy squeeze and breakfast is ready. If you need a grab-n-go meal, wrap the pancakes in a napkin, and bring the pouch separately. Pancakes keep well in the fridge and freezer, so make a big batch at once and save them for later in the week.
5. Apple Sandwiches
To make these fun fruit sandwiches, simply slice an apple horizontally and remove the core. Spread with peanut butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon. To make the night before, just dip the apple slices in lemon or orange juice before making your sandwiches so they don’t turn brown. Serve with a side of sliced carrots.
6. Banana Zucchini Nut Bread
My toddler loves carbs. Who can blame him?! Instead of fighting it, I capitalize on it. Fruit and veggie purees work great in quick breads like this Gluten Free Banana Bread. I like to add a cup of shredded zucchini and some pureed spinach to maximize the veggie power. It makes a great, moist slice of hearty bread. A dab of peanut butter on top adds some protein, and a fruit and veggie pouch on the side ramps it up even more. To freeze quick breads to have them ready to go in the morning, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight, or pop them in the microwave just before eating.
7. Microwave Egg Hash
Here’s another versatile recipe to have in your repertoire: microwave scrambled egg hash. At night, fill a small bowl with frozen hash brown-style potatoes. Top with whatever cooked veggies you want to use, like peppers, onions, mushrooms, or broccoli, and then crack an egg on top. In the morning pop it in the microwave for about 1 minute. Top with salsa, and dig in! Serve with a small glass of OJ to squeeze in a dose of fruit.
8. Steal Cut Oats with Mangos
One of my own favorite breakfasts is overnight steel-cut oatmeal because it requires so little prep time. It doesn’t hurt that my toddler loves it too. I simply toss some oats and milk in the slow cooker and head to bed. In the morning I have a hot breakfast waiting for me. To mix it up from day to day I add applesauce, dried fruit, pumpkin or spices. I divide what I don’t eat that morning into individual serving bowls and keep them in the fridge. It’s easy to change it up by adding a fruit cup like Del Monte mangoes — no slicing and dicing necessary!
9. Banana Sandwich Squares
Everything tastes better in miniature form. That includes sandwiches. Cut a hearty slice of bread into squares, spread with almond butter, a slice of banana, and smear of sweet potato butter (like apple butter but with sweet potatoes, or try pumpkin butter). Serve with a Del Monte Fruit Burst pouch for an extra serving and a half of fruits and veggies.
10. Breakfast Skillet
While I often make this ahead of time and reheat it in the morning, it’s easy enough to make in the morning in 5 minutes or less. Slice and heat a low-sodium apple chicken sausage in a skillet, and then add baby spinach and an egg. Cook until spinach wilts and egg is scrambled. Serve with a sliced avocado (a fruit!) for a healthy dose of fat.