Back to School – The Importance of a Healthy Breakfast
Average read time: 3 minutes
Back to school, back to reality! Getting back into the swing of things is tough. Skipping breakfast to save some time during your daily morning routine can be tempting, but doing so regularly will cause your child to miss multiple benefits affecting their health, wellbeing and performance in school.
Why is it important to have a healthy breakfast before school?
While sleeping, we’re essentially fasting. This is why it’s called “breakfast”, as you’re “breaking the fast”. Breaking the fast in the morning is vital as your body is running low on energy reserves, which are derived from glucose stored in the liver. Once your glucose reserves are depleted, your body’s source of quick energy becomes unavailable, leaving you feeling hungry, tired, and struggling to concentrate. Thus, when skipping breakfast, your children will not be able to make the most of their day of learning.
Breakfast provides vital nutrients: Children who eat breakfast tend to eat more fruit, drink more milk, and eat less saturated fats. When skipping breakfast, some of the key nutrients that are missed, like iron, calcium, and protein, are not made up for. Those who skip breakfast are also more likely to develop metabolic issues such as high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and extra fat around the waist. These conditions can increase their risk of serious health issues such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Breakfast helps maintain a healthy weight: Eating breakfast gets the metabolism going, which means that the body starts burning calories. Breakfast can also prevent your children from overeating later in the day as it regulates their appetite, hormone levels, and the number of calories they burn during the day.
Breakfast enhances performance in school: Children who regularly eat breakfast have been found to achieve better academic results, have improved memory and focus, and are less likely to be absent or fall behind on their schoolwork.
Getting children to eat breakfast is, unfortunately, not as simple. Children of all ages have a wide range of excuses for skipping breakfast. Some are selective eaters or don’t like typical breakfast foods. Some may say they’re skipping breakfast to manage their weight. Often, it’s simply a case of going to bed late and having to rush off to school, leaving no time to eat. Luckily, there are some things you can do to change this.
- 1. Set an earlier bedtime
If your child cannot eat breakfast because there’s no time in the morning, try letting them go to bed earlier so that they can get up earlier in the mornings with enough time to enjoy a nutritious breakfast.
- 2. Eat breakfast together
Children are not the only ones who skip breakfast. Parents should eat breakfast with their children (when possible) to show them how important it is. By being good role models, you can reduce the chances of them skipping breakfast by two-thirds.
- 3. Try a variety of breakfast foods
- 4. Prepare breakfast in advance
When thinking bigger than traditional breakfast foods, you’ll find that there are lots of meals that you can prepare in advance, which is ideal for those rushed mornings. You can make something like this the night before, or get everything ready for this and just throw it all together in the morning.
- 5. Try grab-and-go meals
Making breakfast that your children can grab and go is also a good idea. This will ensure that they still get all the nutrients they need, even when there is no time. You can prepare these nutritious , for example, or make a for them to enjoy on the way to school.
- 6. Look into school breakfast programmes
Some schools, especially kindergartens, offer breakfast programmes. This means that your child receives a healthy, nutritious breakfast every morning before school. So, if there is no time for you to feed them in the morning, why not look into school breakfast programmes to ensure that they are set up for success each day?
At the end of the day, any effort to make breakfast healthy is better than no breakfast at all. So, when life gets too busy and you’re tempted to let the family skip breakfast to save time, don’t. Rather look at ways in which you can make breakfast part of your routine, or find alternative, on-the-go options that work for your household.
Why is breakfast before school so important?
Breakfast provides vital nutrients that children need to get started and get through the day. It also gives them the energy required to focus and concentrate at school, thereby bettering their academic performance. Furthermore, having breakfast helps children maintain a healthy weight and can prevent a range of metabolic issues later in life.
My child doesn’t want to eat breakfast, what do I do?
Children of all ages have excuses for skipping breakfast. Firstly, you as the parent need to set an example and try to have breakfast with your children. If it’s about them being fussy, ask them what they’d like to have for breakfast. Any attempt at having a healthy breakfast is better than not having breakfast at all.
Is it okay to skip breakfast every now and then?
Missing breakfast now and then won’t do any harm, but try and make it part of your daily routine to ensure that your children eat a healthy meal to start their day the right way.
Are on-the-go breakfasts healthy?
Nowadays, there are lots of healthy on-the-go breakfast options to help ensure your children are fed and ready for their day at school. Think French toast, sandwiches, smoothies, overnight oats, and more! There are so many options once you think beyond cereal.