The Importance of Your Kid's Breakfast

Your mornings may be hectic, the alarm may not go off, or the kids may not seem hungry first thing after waking up.

Whatever your reasons may be, skipping breakfast puts your kids at a distinct disadvantage. And while you know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, approximately 40 percent of children don't eat breakfast on a regular basis.

Why do kids need breakfast? What are some fast, easy, and healthy foods to serve your family in order to get them ready for a good day? Keep reading to find out.

The Morning Necessity

Breakfast provides the fuel that is needed by all bodies to start the day. When your child wakes in the morning, his or her tank is empty and it is time to “break the fast” so to speak.

Food gives the energy needed to function mentally and physically. Don't believe it? Consider this: Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast before school perform better on their reading and math scores, have longer attention spans, visit the school nurse less frequently, and are better behaved in class.

As if improved school performance weren't reason enough to get your kids into eating breakfast, kids who eat a healthy breakfast are better able to get the daily nutrients they need. They are more likely to eat recommended levels of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium; magnesium; phosphorus; riboflavin; folate; iron; and vitamins A, C, and B12. Breakfast-consuming children also have lower cholesterol levels.

Some kids, especially teenagers, skip breakfast because they'd rather sleep in or because they think skipping breakfast will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast to lose weight is a myth.

In fact, those who don't eat breakfast are more likely to have a greater body mass index (BMI) than those who do, since skipping breakfast makes kids so hungry they eat extra calories later in the day to make up for their skipped morning cuisine.

Easy, Healthy Options

Why aren't your children eating a healthy breakfast each day? If it's because your family is too rushed in the morning or you think you don't have extra time to make them a homemade nutritious meal, it's time to change your thinking. There are plenty of easy, fast, healthy foods to have readily available for your kids to grab and eat on the way.

Any food is better than no food for breakfast, but healthy foods give your kids the energy they require to make it until lunch. A great way to knock out breakfast is to handle it the night before by hard-boiling some eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and are fast and easy in the morning.

You can also keep some small yogurt containers in the refrigerator for your kids to grab on the go. And of course, keep whole-grain bread, English muffins, or bagels on hand to toss in the toaster.

You can also warm up microwavable oatmeal or let the kids eat cereal bars in the car. Keep whole-grain, low-sugar cereals on hand that kids can eat with low-fat milk or yogurt. And lastly, keep fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, and pears readily available to eat on the go.

These are all nutritious options that are easy for moms or even kids to make themselves.

Good Start

So before rushing out the door tomorrow morning, make sure to give your kids a good start to the day. Fuel them up with a quick, healthy breakfast. They may not thank you, but their stomachs, minds, and teachers will.

Worst Breakfast Items

Don't get caught eating one of these 4 things for breakfast:

  1. Breakfast pastry: muffins, doughnuts, bear claws and croissants sure taste good with coffee, but all those refined carbs are going to cause unwanted weight gain.
  2. Granola Bars: watch out for the breakfast bars that claim to give you fiber, vitamins and minerals. Check the number of carbs and sugars on the back of the label – most contain the same sugar as a pastry.
  3. Cereal: here's another popular breakfast item that has tons of sugar lurking beneath its surface. Only eat cereal that has no added sugar and that contains some protein and healthy fat.
  4. Drive Thru Breakfast Sandwich: don't even think about heading to the drive thru for a quick breakfast sandwich. Instead grab a hard boiled egg from home to enjoy on your commute.

Breakfast Protein Parfait

  1. In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the yogurt, cottage cheese and protein powder. Mix until well incorporated.
  2. Place half of the yogurt mixture into a clear cup, top with the berries and then the remaining yogurt mixture. Top with pecans.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 260 calories, 6g fat, 307mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 38g protein.

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Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:00    Section: Health and Beauty    Author: Anja Bolbjerg
Article tags: Anja Bolberg children diet

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