Methodist Healthcare November 30, 2018

How many times have you heard "breakfast is the most important meal of the day"? Here's why, in terms of small fry. Kids who eat breakfast:

  • Do better in school
  • Have fewer behavioral problems
  • Have better concentration, more energy and better hand-eye coordination
  • Are more likely to meet their nutritional needs overall
  • Have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight

 

Mornings can be hectic in any family, and getting kids -- much less adults -- to eat something can be a challenge. But just look at the payoffs!

If you can't make the morning meal happen at home, send kids off with healthy on-the-go breakfasts to eat on the way. The night before, have them help you fill plastic zipper bags with things like nuts, raisins, and Os cereal; orange slices; low-fat granola; cheese and crackers; sliced apple 'sandwich cookies' filled with peanut butter... or anything else reasonably healthy that you know they'll eat, whether it's 'breakfast food' or not.

Just aim for three things:

  1. Plenty of fiber and protein - it will keep kids full and energized until lunch.
  2. Minimal sugar - too much can send energy soaring up, and then crashing down, before the morning's half over.
  3. Some healthful fat, especially omega-3s - turns out that kids who eat more of these fats do better on short-term memory tests (and they ace pop quizzes!) than kids who eat more saturated fat (think butter, bacon, sausage, pastries, full-fat milk and cheese).

One easy way to get good omega-3 fats into your kids:

Sprinkle walnuts or almonds on their cereal.

Another:

Hard-boil a batch of omega-3-enriched eggs, which are widely available. On a high-speed morning, give the kids (yourself, too) an egg and some whole-wheat crackers in a plastic zipper bag. You'll all be good to go till lunch.

There's nothing old-fashioned about oatmeal
In fact, there's growing evidence that it may be an ideal way to start the school day. Kids who eat oatmeal for breakfast -- versus cold cereal, or nothing at all -- remember things better and pay more attention, which is handy for, say, studying math and geography. Try making it overnight in a slow cooker. One reason may be that oatmeal is digested slowly, supplying the brain with a steady stream of energy.