Have you often raced out the door with a cup of coffee in your hand in the hope you’ll get around to breakfast but it never happens. Then you find you’re absolutely starving within an hour and start snacking on unhealthy choices, which sends you on a roller coaster for the rest of the day?
Well, imagine how that must feel as a child, heading off to school on an empty stomach where they’re meant to perform at the best?
While adults need to eat breakfast each day, kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling from food, starting with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. When kids skip breakfast, they don’t get what they need to be at their best.
Breakfast is literally ‘breaking the fast’ since it’s the first meal you eat after sleeping, and therefore fasting all night. After this ‘fast’, your body has gone through hours of no nutrients so we need to nourish our hungry brain and body (a.k.a. breakfast).
Interestingly, studies show that kids who skip breakfast are lethargic, irritable, have low concentration levels, are absent minded and perform at a lower rate compared to those children who eat breakfast on a regular basis. Also, children who don’t eat a good breakfast tend to eat more junk food during the day – snacks that are high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value.
Breakfast also makes a significant contribution to children’s overall nutrition intake, according to a whole raft of research papers. Children (and adults) who eat breakfast generally have much healthier diets and are more likely to be consuming their recommended intakes of key minerals, vitamins and fibre. Children who skip breakfast do not make up the differences at later meals.
So here are a few suggestions of how to get your children to eat breakfast each morning:
- Offer a variety of healthy cereals or porridge, making sure they are low in sugar. These are a good source of carbohydrates and fibre for children.
- Eggs on toast, or a slice of cheese between two pieces of wholegrain bread. An omelette with vegetables may seem unconventional to parents, but if a child enjoys it, it can be a perfect healthy choice.
- If pressed for time in the morning, throw everything into a smoothie – a smoothie is a great way to get a huge array of fruit (and vegetables) in which often go unnoticed!
- Sprinkling a dessert spoon of LSA (ground Linseeds, Sunflower and Almonds) over the top of their breakfast or in their smoothie will add additional minerals, vitamins and fibre.