Breakfast, it's often said, is the most important meal of day. Indeed, it has been proven that this “fast-breaking” meal is needed after a long sustained period without food whilst sleeping to properly refuel and jump-start the day. Just what constitutes as a typical balanced breakfast for children, however, differs greatly across the globe.
In America, cereal reigns supreme, while over in Vietnam it’s the hearty soup called phở. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away in Chile you’ll find caramel-topped toast. What exactly “should” "breakfast look and taste like? Should it be salty, spicy, sweet, pickled, carb-laden, or protein-packed? There are similarities between porridges across Asia and Africa and varieties of meats and cheeses in Europe, but overall there is not just one accepted and uniformed standard for kids’ breakfast foods. What is not up for debate, however, is that the habits young children form early on will have lifelong implications for their mental and physical health. Understanding the significant roles environment and culture play in developing what kids consider tasty or terrible is key when choosing dishes. Therefore, introducing some initially challenging flavors may actually expand children’s taste buds and open kids up to trying more adventurous foods as adults.
Eating breakfast that lacks nutritional value and minerals or skipping breakfast altogether often leads to snacking, which has been linked to childhood obesity, an epidemic that is sadly not only an American problem but also a global one. To combat these problems, countries like Singapore have developed nutritional outreach campaigns educating both kids and parents about the importance of breakfast, some creative options to try at home, and how to set morning routines that will positively affect the whole family.
So just what are kids eating in the morning? From Guatemala to India, over to the Philippines and beyond, The Daily Meal has rounded up the typical breakfast kids eat in 11 countries around the world.
As breakfast is the first of four meals in the Chilean day, children start their day with a light repast of toast and milk. The traditional Chilean bread, pan amasado, or kneaded bread, is shaped like a disc with a flakey crust and soft center. This is topped with butter, jam, or the dangerously delicious and wildly popular caramelized milk spread called manjar (known elsewhere as dulce de leche).
Many Chinese children start their day with a warm bowl of congee, a watery rice porridge-like gruel. The dish seems more basic and blander than it actually is; additions to the dish can change daily. It can be prepared sweet or savory and can consists a variety of herbs, seasoned meats, and vegetables.