Break Your Child’s Fast with Breakfast
You’ve heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why? When you break down the definition of breakfast, it literally refers to “breaking the fast” after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Now that school is back in session, it’s essential to remember that breakfast is especially important for your growing kiddos!
According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination. Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by mid-morning if they don’t eat at least a small morning meal.
It’s imperative to make time for breakfast—for you and your kids! While adults need to eat breakfast each day to perform their best, kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling often, from food. When kids skip breakfast, they don’t get what they need to be at their best. By recharging their brains and bodies with breakfast, your child will be more efficient in just about everything he/she does.
Children who eat breakfast surpass their peers in:
- Attention, concentration and class participation
- Memory retention and speech fluency
- Good social behavior
- Love for school and interest in studying
A good breakfast also makes it more likely that your child will:
- Meet his/her daily nutritional requirements
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Enjoy better health and fewer sick days from school
Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber and protein while low in added sugar may boost kids’ attention span, concentration and memory—which they need to learn in school.
- Eggs – 6 grams
- Greek yogurt – 15-20 grams
- Milk – 8 grams
ο For a protein-packed breakfast, try our Salsa & Cheese Omelet!
- Whole grain bagel
- Whole grain cereal
- Whole wheat English muffin – 4.4 grams
- Pear (medium) with skin – 5.5 grams
- Bran cereal (1/3 cup) – 9.1 grams
Complex carbohydrates (a.k.a. starches) are also important to eat during breakfast. Complex carbs are absorbed by the body slowly, so they give your child energy all day long.
- Brown rice
- Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
- Whole grains
Make breakfast healthier by including as many of the five food groups as possible. Also, variety encourages children to eat, boosts their appetite and helps provide them with a wide range of beneficial nutrients.
Not only are nutrient-rich breakfasts imperative, having convenient options will make it easier for everyone to eat before rushing around to catch the school bus.
- This light and delicious Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg Whites & Cheese Croissant tastes great without packing on the calories!
- A handheld breakfast, like Bob Evans Bacon, Egg, Cheese & Hash Browns Breakfast Bakes, contains all of your favorite breakfast foods in one!
- These Kellogg’s Eggo Bites – Maple Flavored Waffles can be popped in the microwave and eaten on the way to school—no syrup required!
There are several ways that you can prepare for breakfasts during the busy school week:
- stock your freezer and fridge with healthier breakfast options
- prepare as much as you can the night before
- get everyone up 10 minutes earlier
- let kids help plan and prepare breakfast
- have grab-and-go alternatives
Most importantly—don’t forget that you as parents are the best role models for your child, so if you both eat breakfast, your child will too! What are your go-to breakfasts that guarantee your little munchkin has a wholesome meal before heading to school? Share in the comments below!
If you still need convinced why breakfast is so important, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen shares why!