The Breakfast Wars: Nothing Tastes Good

imgresThis morning I found my son in deep thought over what to have for breakfast, and he concluded in all seriousness, that he wanted a doughnut. I think I responded that while we’d all love a doughnut, it wasn’t going to happen, so please pick again. He didn’t give up, but eventually settled on a muffin, which to me is almost as bad as a doughnut, but I needed to get something into this kid before school.

We face this battle every day, if not with one kid, then with the other. We have a variety of breakfast foods on hand: eggs, fruit, frozen waffles, cereal, bagels, bread, yogurt, smoothies, but nothing is just right. When my son picked his muffin, I noticed a piece of bread sitting in a turned-off toaster oven. “He changed his mind,” my husband explained.

My son is usually better about breakfast decisions, and I don’t worry that much because he has an early snack provided at school, but my daughter is the bigger concern. She gets hangry. She’s like a toddler: she will yell, scream, and tantrum, but once she has something to eat, her mood improves quickly. Her school snack is something from her lunch bag, which means she may eat something before lunch, she may not. This means breakfast is a really important step.

I made a big compromise at Costco yesterday by buying muffins. Their muffins are huge and with sugar as the No. 1 ingredient, it seems more like dessert than a foundational meal. I reasoned that this once, it would be okay because getting something substantial into their bellies was the important part. My kids will inhale my banana bread muffins with chocolate chips, thus I bought the banana chocolate muffins. Both kids turned up their noses. One said she didn’t like bananas, the other said he didn’t like bananas “that way.” (He only likes bananas as a friend, not likes likes them.) My daughter changed approaches and tried to flatter me by saying she only likes my banana muffins because they are the best and I make them so well. This is when I dropped the boom: my banana bread comes from a box at Trader Joe’s. While I add fresh ingredients, my daughter often complains about the fresh banana chunks in mine, which the Costco muffins did not have. When did breakfast tastes become so whimsical?

My son reluctantly agreed to try one of the banana muffins another day, as he picked up a pumpkin muffin for today and only ate the muffin top.

My only choice before school when I was a kid was toast or stale cereal. I was thrilled when Cream of Wheat was offered by my mom a few times a year, and we never had frozen waffles as a choice. Maybe my kids are suffering from too many options. I think it’s time to try scaling things back to see if that works.

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