Breakfast for Toddlers

A friend recently commented on one of my posts:


i’m curious about what you (and your other readers) think about “that’s not for breakfast” type things. i generally want to give as much food autonomy as possible to The Who (including deciding when he is hungry and when he is full and what his body is craving.) … sometimes The Who wakes up and asks for chicken soup for breakfast. sometimes he only wants milk.

I see absolutely no reason why we get stuck on “traditional” breakfast foods in this country–why cereal is only for breakfast, why scrambled eggs are an “odd” dinner, why it’s considered strange to eat leftover meat loaf or pizza for breakfast.
After all, in many countries, savory breakfasts are the norm. Think fish in Japan, or the Korean breakfast of rice, seasoned vegetables, soup, kimchee, and grilled meat or fish. That sounds fantastic to me.
My favorite breakfast, when I was in high school, was cold poached or baked haddock, leftover from dinner. Mmmm. I loved the stuff. Even today, I prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one. When we go out for brunch, I order something savory, salty, or spicy–with vegetables and cheese, possibly with fish or pork–while C orders something covered in fruit and syrup and whipped cream. He likes his oatmeal mixed with lots of dried fruits; I like mine plain, possibly with a pinch of salt and pepper and a boiled egg on top (if I’m going to be honest about my food fantasies), though we don’t often make eggs around here (for no good reason).
I don’t think breakfast has to be any particular thing, as long as it is fairly nutritious. Cookies? No. Licorice? Well, maybe one piece if it is the good Icelandic stuff (I grew up with it and understand the pull). Must we serve oatmeal, cereal, toast, waffles, or pancakes? Nope.
Out of ease and habit, we usually have toast or oatmeal, fruit, sometimes yogurt. Max drinks milk. Sometimes he eats a lot. Sometimes, just milk and a few raisins. If he wanted leftover chicken, or pizza, or a PBJ, that would be fine with me.
Sometimes I’ve even let him eat “popsicles” for breakfast–but the popsicles were homemade, made only from organic strawberry yogurt. I mean, we’d let him eat a bowl of the stuff, right? So what if it’s frozen in a popsicle shape? He thought he was getting away with a special treat, and I was happy that he was consuming more yogurt than he would have if we’d served him a bowl of it. Win-win!
As for cookies…I’d rather Max ate no sweets, including those stupid YoSqueeze or whatever they’re called–those Stonyfield yogurt tubes marketed for kids. I think they have too much sugar. I don’t even want Max to eat the fistfuls of dried cranberries and raisins and apricots that he loves so much, to be honest. It’s way too much sugar.
I may be a chocoholic with a cookie stash and a naptime fix, but that’s my business. I’m a grown-up, I’m stressed, and I’m lactating. I don’t believe in the rule that if you wouldn’t feed it to your kid, you shouldn’t have it in your house. We have beer, and vitamins, and Sriracha, and regular hot sauce. Know what I mean? Some stuff is only for grown-ups, some stuff is fine for kids.
But almost anything is fair game for breakfast.
Readers, what do you think? Is anything OK for breakfast, or do you have rules about what’s OK for the first meal of the day?

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