Many parents struggle to find time to provide a healthy and nutritious breakfast for their children. However, breakfast doesn’t have to mean a time-consuming affair. Jump-start their day with nutritious food that provides energy for growing children. A nutritious breakfast will help them to listen attentively and learn in school, as well as providing calcium and vitamin D for the development of strong bones.
It’s important to break an overnight fast with a light morning meal, referred to literally as “break-fast”. Doing this will ensure that they begin each day with the vital energy and nutrition they need. Skipping breakfast means that children can become irritable, restless and tired by late morning, meaning they won’t have the energy or concentration they need to participate in learning activities at school.
Children who eat breakfast are more likely to get their vitamin and mineral requirements than children who skip breakfast. They also tend to get more vitamin C, calcium, folic acid and fibre in their diet. Children who regularly eat breakfast have more energy and have a better attitude towards school and leaning. Children who eat breakfast score higher on maths tests and other academic areas and have fewer days of absence from school.
Some children, especially tweens and teens, skip breakfast in a bid to lose weight. Skipping a meal actually results in snacking more throughout the day and eating more at other meals, resulting in weight gain. Children who eat breakfast daily generally have better overall health. Breakfast foods such as a bowl of fortified cereal provides fibre and whole wheat, which can help with weight control and cholesterol levels. Calcium and vitamin D provided by milk at breakfast, also helps build strong bones and boosts immunity.
It’s a good idea to choose breakfasts that require little preparation time. Fresh fruits, yoghurt and cereals are all quick and nutritious options. Finger foods such as chopped fruits, celery with peanut butter and granola bars can provide quick nutrients when mornings are hectic. A little planning and extra effort can ensure that your child benefits from a nutritious breakfast every day.