Are Your Kids Eating Breakfast?
We all know our kids should be eating breakfast. But are they? Many teachers report their students show up to school without eating.
Study after study shows that kids who eat breakfast get better grades, are less often tardy or absent and have more concentration in the classroom. Breakfast not only nourishes their bodies, it boosts their brains, too!
So what counts as a healthy breakfast?
As a rule of thumb, try to build a breakfast with at least three of the five food groups: grains, breads and cereals; vegetables OR fruits; and milk and milk products OR meat, beans and nuts. Making sure your kids get a balanced breakfast will provide them with the most benefit, both educationally and physically.
A breakfast that includes foods from these food groups should have enough carbohydrate, protein and fat to prevent drops in blood sugar for several hours, whereas a breakfast of carbohydrates only (like a plain bagel) will sustain a child for only one or two hours. Drops in blood sugar can lead to low energy and headaches, which interfere with learning.
People who eat breakfast are better able to maintain a healthy weight, so this habit will serve them well for their entire lifetime. And you can benefit from eating breakfast too, so plan to join in this simple morning meal.
Breakfast doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't even need to involve cooking. Below are some quick, nutritious breakfast ideas that will save you time and provide your kids with the energy they need.
- Frozen Banana on a stick – put a banana on a stick, dip it in yogurt and then roll it in granola. Place on wax paper and freeze for 1-2 hours. Make these the night before and then there will be no time needed in the morning to prepare
- Apple bagel – cut a bagel in half, add one or two slices of an apple, top off with a slice of cheese then place in the oven at 375 degrees for ~ 5 minutes.
- Egg burrito – one tortilla, add two scrambled eggs, sprinkle cheese, roll up and enjoy!
- Oatmeal- always a quick and nutritious choice. Be sure to add some fruit and a glass of milk to complete the 3 out of 5 breakfast.
If it's impossible to put together a meal with three or more food groups, remember that feeding your kids something is always better than sending them to school on an empty stomach. Just a banana or a piece of string cheese on the way to school will benefit them more than nothing.
Breakfast is good for both kids and adults, and eating breakfast with your kids sets a good example. Make sure to prepare yourself something quick and easy on those hectic weekdays, and on the weekends, take a little extra time to sit down with your kids and share the most important meal of the day with them.
Print our Parents . . . Get Straight A's With a Healthy Breakfast (PDF) and see how your child's attention, attendance and academic achievement can improve with breakfast.