Breaking the “fast” for kids
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start your child’s day off right with a healthy morning meal.
Why is breakfast or ‘breaking the fast’ important for kids?
Michigan State University Extension says that breakfast:
- Fuels the body with nutrients. Your child may not make up nutrients during the day that were missed at breakfast.
- Provides food energy for the morning’s active play.
- Gets your child ready to learn - at home, at school or at day care. Kids learn better if they eat breakfast.
- Helps children pay attention, perform problem-solving tasks and improve memory.
- Helps keep a healthy body weight. Breakfast helps control the urge to nibble or to eat too big of a lunch. Even with breakfast, young children may need a small morning snack.
- Helps children feel good. Children may get morning tummy aches if they miss breakfast. These aches are usually hunger pains.
- Tastes good! Your family should eat foods they enjoy, even if they aren’t common for breakfast!
Listed are two resources for additional reasons why it is important for your children to eat breakfast: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/breakfast/expansion/benefitsbreakfast.pdf
Sometimes there are struggles with providing breakfast in the morning for kids such as, “My kids just aren’t hungry when they first wake up.” Or “I don’t have time to make breakfast at home.”
Here are some tips to make breakfast successful at home:
- Eat breakfast yourself. “Showing” teaches more than just “telling.” Your child will follow what you DO.
- Start making breakfast the night before. You could mix the juice, slice some fruit or hard-boil some eggs.
- Go to bed earlier, so you can get up earlier to eat breakfast.
- Get the kids to sleep earlier so they are more ready to get up in the morning.
- Stock your kitchen with quick-to-fix morning foods. Here are 15 on-the-go breakfast recipes.
- Ask your child to help make breakfast. Some simple tasks can really help them feel like they are helping.
- Give the kids a choice in what they want to eat. Cereal or eggs? Granola or fruit?
- When you are having a hectic morning, grab something to go, like a granola bar or a piece of fruit.
- Learn more about the free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs at school. Enrolling students in this program helps the school district, as well as other programs in the community. Many grant programs are available to assist local residents in communities, look at the number of students that receive free or reduced meals before they award money.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so get your family off to a great start with a healthy breakfast!