The importance of breakfast and how to get kids to eat it every day
As a child grows up, life keeps throwing curveballs in the form of increasing academic pressure, intense extracurricular activities, and competition in every field. To deal with all of that and to start every single day on a productive and energetic note, your kid needs to have a good breakfast. This meal is considered to be the most important one, as it helps break your child’s fast after a long night of sleep and rest. However, it often happens that your child misses out on breakfast because he gets up late or is late for school or simply because he doesn’t want to have it. So, as parents, you need to be aware of the importance of breakfast for children and ways you can get your kid to eat this important meal every day.
Here is why breakfast is super important for children.
- Having regular breakfast can keep your child healthy
According to some studies, children who have breakfast regularly are healthier. They actively participate in games and other physical activities. Having breakfast regularly helps them to maintain a healthy body weight too as they binge on junk food less.
- Breakfast gives the child a good start for the day ahead
Your child is usually hungry in the morning as he is not having any food during the 8 to 10 hours of sleep. And breakfast acts as the essential fuel for your little one, to start the day well. It helps him to be mentally alert and agile.
- Breakfast gives your child the much-needed energy
Breakfast is very important as the energy needs are higher in children than in adults. It helps children to recharge their batteries in the morning. Kids who miss breakfast regularly tend to be tired, irritable and restless. They need to have a breakfast which is rich in whole grains, fibre, and protein, to match their energy needs. It is essential for improving attention span, concentration, and memory. Also, make sure that the breakfast does not include too many simple sugars as they are just empty calories.
- A healthy and well-balanced diet is very beneficial for the learning curve
Regular breakfast can help a child develop better problem-solving skills. Your toddler will have better hand-eye coordination and stay alert all through the day. Children who do not miss breakfast have improved attendance and better grades as well. It makes them more creative and better learners.
Some breakfast options for your child
Include sources of carbohydrates
- Whole-grain bread
- Various dosa options (with grains and vegetables)
- Vegetable uthappam
- Veggie-stuffed paratha
- Banana walnut pancakes
- Almond banana smoothie
- Papaya mango smoothie
- Grilled banana chocolate sandwich
- Sooji upma
- Palak puri
- Appam – made with rice and coconut
- Curd and oats
- Vegetable sandwich
- Cheese/Paneer sandwich
Include sources of protein
- Boiled eggs
- Lean meats
Include protein and carbohydrate combos
Tips to encourage your child to eat breakfast every day
In spite of your best efforts, getting your child to have breakfast can be a challenge sometimes. Here are some tips to help you make it happen.
Remember, the first few hours of the day are very important for your child to prepare for the long day ahead. He or she needs to be recharged adequately after long hours of starvation during sleep. So, utilise the opportunity to provide him with food that has a good balance of all nutrients. A child who does not miss breakfast will be healthy and energetic and can excel at school, sports and in life.
- Fruit and yoghurt
- Vegetable omelette with whole-wheat bread toast
- Whole-grain cereal with milk
- Stock the kitchen well
An empty kitchen can make your child explore other junk options and leave home without having anything. Stock your kitchen with sufficient amounts of healthy and interesting options.
- Avoid the rush
The last-minute rush might be one of the common reasons why your child ends up avoiding breakfast. So, get them ready early so that they have sufficient time to have breakfast in a relaxed way. Prepare the breakfast well in advance and keep it available. You might have to plan the breakfast before you go to sleep the previous day, to avoid the last-minute rush.
- Involve them
Involve your child to plan and prepare breakfasts. Ask them for their favourite options and try to include them regularly. You should encourage them to suggest options that include carbohydrates and protein sources.
- Prepare some ready-to-pick-up options
Prepare meals that can be taken on the go like cut fruits, cereals, yogurt, nuts, smoothies, etc. It is especially important on those days when you are too busy or if your child is in a rush.
- Be creative
Children get bored with repetitive items. Rotate the breakfast options regularly to keep things interesting. You can also try to make some fun shapes with fruits and bread slices to increase the appeal.
- Stock the kitchen well