Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for everyone, especially children and adolescents. It gives you energy to get through the longest part of the day after the body has been at rest (sleep) for 8-10 hours overnight. “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.”(The Many Benefits of Breakfast, para 1). The better children focus (attention span) and concentrate (memory) in class the more they will learn, because a child’s brain can metabolize glucose at a much higher rate that an adult brain. Glucose acts in the body the same way that gas does in your car. It feeds the body to help it run throughout the day. Therefore, eating breakfast is physiologically important for children, in providing energy-charged glucose, to help start and fuel the brain. Breakfast gives children a more complete diet filled with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It also provides more strength and endurance for physical activities, weight control, lower cholesterol and improved balance.
Get your child involved and ask what they would like to eat. If your child is not a morning person establish a routine. Have your child go to bed at a set time each night so that he/she will have enough time to eat breakfast. You should also show the importance of breakfast and eat with your child. Provide a variety of accessible options like a boiled egg and banana, bagel with cream cheese, veggie omelet with toast, yogurt smoothies, fruit-and-yogurt, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and fresh fruit or oatmeal with skim milk and fruit and 4 ounces of orange juice. You can even make eating breakfast a game, giving points for eating all or at least half. Create a point system and assign prizes to each category.
As a parent you want to see your child thrive so make sure to start his/her day with a well-balanced, healthy breakfast to ensure success.
- Zelman, K. (n.d.). The Many Benefits of Breakfast. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/many-benefits-breakfast.