THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
You have heard it time and time again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for kids. Astudy from the USDA in 2013 found that kids who eat breakfast have an easier time completing difficult math problems than kids who skipped. In fact, a growing body of research supports the “learning connection” between breakfast and academic performance.
You might be tempted to let your kids skip breakfast, especially when they say they aren’t hungry, but you should always try to get them to eat something in the morning. Here are some tips and reasons for getting in the perfect amount of nutrition even on a tight timeline.
Aside from the obvious reasons, like jump starting your kid’s metabolism, there are a ton of other factors that breakfast affects.Dairy Council of Florida has found some key information that links breakfast to your child’s mental and physical performance. For example, students who eat breakfast have a better memory than student’s who don’t. Students who eat breakfast also improve their cognitive speed and memory, and have fewer absences and class disruptions.
According to KidsHealth.org , kids who don’t eat breakfast get less iron in their diets and are more likely to have a higher body mass index, which could lead to obesity. They also suggest that skipping breakfast will make kids tend to eat more calories during the day, and have found that there is a link between eating breakfast and eating an overall healthier diet.
Recommended Foods and Nutrition
When it comes to breakfast, you might be tempted to give your kids quick pastries or sugary donuts, but you should try to refrain. While any breakfast is better than no breakfast, it is just like any other meal. Kids need certain nutrients to satisfy their needs, like fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.
One of the main ingredients that can really pack in a lot of thevitamins and minerals that your kids need for their day is dairy. Dairy does not just mean milk, it also includes yogurt and cheese. Dairy provides your kids with Vitamin D, which increases immune function and helps absorb calcium. Dairy also provides calcium for kids to prevent bone loss in the future. A good balanced breakfast should include at least one serving of dairy, which will help your kids meet the recommended “three a day” serving recommendation from theNational Dairy Council .
You should also try to make sure that your kids are getting Vitamin A and Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables in the morning. These can be found in oranges, carrots, and even in whole grains.
One of the best ways to save time in the morning but still give your kids the hearty breakfast they need before tests is to cook or prepare it the night before. The Dairy Council of Florida has a ton of amazing breakfast recipes on their site, like their recipe for cheesy breakfast pizza with whole grain crust. It is extremely easy to make and can be made the night before and reheated in the morning.
Making a nutritious breakfast doesn’t always require a ton of prep-work. Breakfasts with dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt can pack a punch of nine essential nutrients and high quality protein. One great and easy breakfast that kids will love and that they can even take on the go with them is a parfait. All you need is some yogurt, fruit and granola.
Making smoothies is another great option for getting in all of the nutrients recommended. It is also a great way to get vegetables into your kid’s diet without them even tasting them. Simply take milk, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables and blend them all up. This is filling and great for families on the go.
It is great to get the kids involved in making their own breakfasts as well. Teaching them how to pour their own whole grain cereal and milk will let them be in control of their nutrition and will empower them to eat healthy breakfasts.
Skipping breakfast can mean a shift in your child’s entire day and education, so make sure that they are eating something, no matter how small.
By Angela Ardolino of Tampa Bay Parenting,TBParenting.com