Many people underestimate the value of breakfast. They may only have a glass of juice or a cup of coffee and eat nothing at all. However, research has shown that this type of routine is not the best habit to get into. Eating a substantial meal within the first few hours of waking up is much healthier for you and your child.
Children who eat a good breakfast tend to perform better in school, and have a better attendance and decreased hyperactivity. Children who don't eat breakfast tend to perform not as well, and also tend to have behavior problems such as fighting, stealing, and not listening to their teachers (Dr. Ronald Kleinman, Harvard Medical School).
- A good nutritious breakfast need not include typical breakfast foods, but eating breakfast is a good habit to start off the school day.
- Studies show that children and adult students who eat breakfast do more and better work in school than those who skip it. In contrast, those who skip breakfast tend to tire more quickly, be more irritable, and react less quickly than those who eat breakfast. Because many of the basic subjects are taught before noon, breakfast is an important meal.
- National studies consistently confirm that breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Children who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, have a higher intake of key vitamins and minerals and are less likely to suffer from colds than those who skip their first meal of the day.
- In one study, test scores of children who did not eat breakfast were generally lower than those who had eaten a well-balanced morning meal.
- Another good reason to make sure that children have a balanced breakfast is that four out of five children do not get enough vitamins and minerals from lunch and dinner alone.
- By adding breakfast, children are more likely to get the vitamins and minerals they need. 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.
- Improves classroom performance, including better test scores and grades
- Increases children's ability to focus and concentrate on school work
- Decreases behavior problems, tardiness and visits to the school nurse
- Increases attendance rate
Whole-grain bread or cereal, fruit, milk, yogurt, or eggs are good breakfast options.
Suggestions to get your children to eat breakfast each morning:
Offer variety. Mixing a variety of healthy cereals, especially those that are lower in sugar, are a good source of carbohydrate and fibre for children. In addition, skim or 1% milk supplies needed calcium and protein.
Make it easy. If pressed for time in the morning, try cutting up fruit the night before, so it’s ready to add to cereal or yogurt
Be creative. Breakfast doesn't have to be limited to cereal or toast. A whole-wheat English muffin with mozzarella and tomato sauce or an omelette with vegetables may seem unconventional to parents, but if a child enjoys it, it can be a healthy choice.
* 'Serve up the benefits of breakfast' at 'Scholastic.com'
* Importance of breakfast for children
'Starting healthy eating habits