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  • Vanisha Mistry

Starting the day off strong: Why a healthy breakfast is important for children

As a parent, it’s no secret that most mornings are chaotic. Between getting yourself ready for work, walking the dog, and getting your kids out of bed and ready for school - there never seems to be enough time. This makes it tough to make sure you’re always getting your kids (and yourself) a good, nutritious breakfast.

The famous adage saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” - well it’s true. Breakfast gives the body the refueling it needs after going 8 to 12 hours without anything during sleep. Studies have shown that when kids skip breakfast, they often feel more tired, restless, or irritable. This negatively affects their ability to learn thus leading to poor academic performance and potential behavioral issues.

Since breakfast kick starts your body’s metabolism, choose breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein that are also low in sugar. These things may help boost your child’s attention span, concentration, and memory - all things children need to learn successfully at school. Some quick and easy nutritious breakfast ideas include:

Breakfasts that are packed with these nutrients all tend to help children keep weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels, fewer absences from school, and tend to prevent trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.

Tips for ensuring your kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast, even on busy mornings:

  1. Plan ahead. Try to stock your fridge with as many healthy breakfast options as you can. Also, prepare anything you can the night before.

  2. Let your kids get involved with the prepping and planning of breakfast. Get them excited about preparing and eating breakfast.

  3. Try getting everyone up 10 minutes earlier. If you’re struggling to get your kids up that early or they won’t eat that early, pack them a to-go breakfast that they can eat on the way to school.

  4. Be a good example for your kids! Kids look up to their parents if they see you eating breakfast, they'll want to too!

Source: Mary L. Gavin, MD, “Breakfast Basics”, Kids Health (July 2015)



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