We’ve all been there: the rushed, half-bite of toast as you’re jetting out the door to get your kid to school on time because they already missed the bus because somebody didn’t get out of bed when you called for them.
Time will never be on your side when you’re a parent of small children, which means having the time to eat a proper breakfast will often be a challenge. But the fact is, eating a healthy, consistent breakfast is really important to the health and development of a child. So, we’ve compiled our tried-and-true tricks for packing in the nutrients while still saving time, with a little extra info to help understand why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Why is breakfast important for your child?
Breakfast is how you can refuel your child’s body with the things that it needs. When they sleep, they’re going roughly 8 to 12 hours without any food. Can you imagine your child doing that while they’re awake? Neither can we.
Skipping breakfast in the morning will prolong the amount of time food isn’t on your child’s stomach, which will leave them feeling tired longer, restless and even irritable.
Plus, the immediate boost of nutrients in the morning will help with your child’s attention span and concentration at school, and the added calories will ensure they don’t pile on the extra fries in the lunch line.
Not convinced? Try these stats on for size:
- Students who eat breakfast before class have shown to score roughly 25% higher on math, reading and science tests.
- Children who consistently eat breakfast get around 20-60% more iron, vitamin B and vitamin D than kids who skip breakfast.
- Children who eat breakfast are at a lower risk of weight gain.
So, how do I make sure they eat breakfast?
Sure, we’d all love to serve freshly made waffles, cut fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice to our kids every morning, but it’s not attainable (or affordable). Try these quick, but nutritional tips for packing in the vitamins without skimping on the flavor:
- Stock up on whole grain cereals and muffins for a grab-and-go snack (say no to the overly sugary cereal!)
- Stick some low-fat or non-dairy yogurt in the fridge for when you feel like your child needs some extra protein in the morning
- Hard boil a handful of eggs to keep on-hand throughout the week, or pre-bake egg muffins to toss in the microwave.
- Cut up your child’s favorite fruit and stash it in individual servings in the fridge, so it’s just a matter of putting them on a plate in the morning.
When all else fails, or you don’t have time to pre-prepare breakfast foods, a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter will work wonders for adding fiber and protein to your child’s diet in the morning.
We’re here to help.
It really does take a village to raise a child, and we’re here to help make sure every kid stays healthy and happy. If you need help making the right nutritional decisions for your child (or yourself!), make an appointment to speak with our pediatrician or a primary care provider today.