It’s Breakfast Time!
Most of us already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Beginning your day without breakfast is like trying to fly a kite without any wind. It’s hard to get started and even harder to keep going. Breakfast is the first chance for your child’s developing body and brain to refuel its glucose levels (that’s the brains basic fuel), after several hours of sleep.
Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Here are just a few reasons why your child should eat breakfast.
Studies show that eating breakfast every day is important for maintaining a healthy body weight. Starting your child’s day with a wholesome breakfast will also make him less likely to eat high-calorie snacks during the morning.
Eating a well balanced breakfast improves your child’s intake of fibre, vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C. These nutrients are essential for a balanced diet. In fact, a good breakfast provides one-fourth to one-third of the day’s energy and nutritional requirements.
Children who eat breakfast tend to show improved academic performance, longer attention span, better attendance and decreased hyperactivity in school.
Skipping breakfast will often make your child feel tired, restless or irritable by mid-morning. By eating breakfast, your child will have energy throughout the morning which will help him to concentrate better in class. This also means fewer trips to the school clinic.
Important pointers for kids’ breakfast
Breakfast can be served hot or cold, sitting down or eaten on-the-run. Breakfast can be a typical breakfast food like bread or cereal. The main point to remember is to include it in your morning routine for both you and your child. A good breakfast is easier than you think. By choosing the right foods, you can feed your child quickly at home or pack a nutritious snack-to-go.
A nutritious breakfast includes foods from at least three of the five food groups:
Fruit: Fresh whole fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges. Sliced fruit which can be added to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.
Vegetable: 100% vegetable juice; mushrooms or long beans in an omelette.
Grains: Whole-grain breads, dry cereal, porridge, pasta, etc.
Milk: Milk, yogurt or cheese. If your child is lactose-intolerant, choose lactose-free products that will provide the calcium and other necessary nutrients.
Meat and beans: Eggs, lean meat or baked beans.
Traditional and non-traditional breakfast ideas
- Whole grain cereal with fruit and milk
- Oatmeal with raisin and milk
- French toast, waffles or pancakes
- Whole-grain bread with cheese or peanut butter
- Scrambled egg, cheese and veggies wrapped in a thin pancake
- Grilled cheese sandwich and juice
- Porridge with chicken or fish, and vegetables
- Fruit smoothies, such as mango or banana smoothie
- Croissants with butter and jam
- Savoury (e.g. cheese) muffins
- Buns (or ‘paus’) with meat filling
- Nasi lemak
- Thosai or iddly
- Kuay teow soup with fish ball
Making time for breakfast
- Do some of your morning chores the night before, such as selecting clothes to wear and getting school bags packed and ready.
- Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier to allow more time to prepare and eat breakfast as a family.
- Skip the audio-video temptation; make breakfast time about eating rather than watching TV, playing a video game or using the computer. You may find it easier to get out of the house on time as well.
- Offer something non-traditional like croissants or a fish porridge. Eating nutritious food for breakfast is better than eating no breakfast at all.
- Have items available in your kitchen that can be quickly and easily assembled in the morning such as whole-grain cereals with milk, fresh fruit, yogurt or bread.
- Pick one morning a week where you make a special breakfast such as pancakes and eggs. You can prepare the mix the night before or even make the pancakes and freeze them to reheat when needed.
Creating healthy habits
Children are ‘copycats’; they like to do what someone else is doing. Parents and older siblings can act as role models by setting a good example and taking the time to eat breakfast every morning. Rise and shine with breakfast and help your children develop a healthy habit that will benefit them throughout their life.