Breakfast, like all meals is an important part of your child’s day. Food is fuel for the brain (and growing bodies) and breakfast is important for waking the brain and body up ready for the day ahead.
A night of sleeping means many hours without any fuel for your body. If children don’t have breakfast to refuel and start off their day, they can end up being restless, unable to concentrate and tired. About 10% of Aussie kids skip breakfast and boys are more likely to avoid it than girls. Research shows that children who have breakfast in the morning may:
- Do better in school than their peers who don’t have breakfast
- Have higher concentration levels
Be more able to regulate their emotions and behaviours
Children who have a nutritious breakfast such as a wholegrain cereal or porridge with milk are much more likely to meet their daily fibre, iron, calcium and folate requirements than children who do not.
Also, when compared with children who do not eat breakfast, children who do are much less likely to be overweight or obese.
Making breakfast time easy (or at least easier)
Busy mornings can mean that breakfast can be hard to organise and make time for. Whenever possible, try and eat with your children as they learn about healthy eating and mealtime routines by seeing you do this. To help make breakfast an easier time of day have healthy options readily available. Pull out the cereals options the night before, chop up some fruit and have in a container in the fridge ready to serve or purchase some frozen fruits such as berries that can be taken straight from the freezer and served.
Talk to your kids before they go to bed about the morning routine including preparing and eating breakfast. Don’t forget to talk about what will be on offer (1-2 different things to choose from), where they should sit and who will be home at breakfast with them.
What to offer for breakfast
We all have food preferences and things that we enjoy eating more than others. Parents should aim to provide their child with a breakfast that provides sources of fibre, protein, calcium and wholegrain carbohydrate. Some nutritious and delicious ideas include:
- Wholegrain cereal served with milk or yoghurt.
- Wholegrain toast or crumpet served with a cheese or nut spread
- Eggs- . Scrambled or boiled with toast is usually a favourite!
- Porridge topped with fresh, dried or frozen fruit
- A breakfast sandwich made with wholegrain bread with a filling such as egg and mayo, ham and cheese, vegemite and cheese or a nut spread.
- A breakfast smoothie made with berries or banana, milk , yoghurt and even oats or weetbix.
Navigating the cereal isle
With over 468 different breakfast cereals to choose from in Australia it can be hard to know which ones make a healthy choice. Top tips for finding a nutritious one include:
- Look for products with the lowest sodium levels. Less than 350mg is a good choice
- Look for products that have added iron. This will normally be listed on the nutrition information panel or you might see words such as “mineral iron” in the ingredients list.
- Look for products with less than 20g of sugar per 100g if it contains fruit or less than 10g of sugar per 100g if there is no fruit
- Look for products that state “wholegrains” in the ingredients list
- If there is a Health Star Rating on the front of the pack, look for products with 4-5 stars.
How Can You Get Your Child to Eat Breakfast?
Prioritising breakfast and making it a daily part of the household routine will help ensure your child doesn’t skip breakfast. Extra tips to help with this include:
- No TV or other devices until breakfast has been eaten and everyone is dressed and ready for the day
- Get them involved and make it fun! Lay out recipe cards for older children to select from
- Have them go shopping with you for breakfast items. Teaching them about everyday and sometimes foods as you go.
- Have them write or draw in a weekly list what they would like for breakfast each day.
At Jenny’s Early Learning Centre, you can be sure all care will be taken in regards to your child’s breakfast. With high quality educators and well-planned and nutritious meals that are developed by our chefs, you can be sure your child will have the head start needed for their day. Located across the Bendigo area, you can contact us to book a tour today.