Do your kids routinely eat breakfast each morning?
Eating a balanced breakfast offers a wealth of health benefits, both physical and mental, for the whole family. As a Together Counts™ program partner encouraging healthy, active living, we know that teaching your children healthy habits from a young age by incorporating a nutritious breakfast into their daily routine is a vital life lesson. Breakfast will not only have a positive impact on their bodies, but also on their education. Numerous studies have found that eating breakfast improves a child’s concentration, mood and grades. What’s more, eating breakfast as a family every morning is great way to spend quality time together.
Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t wait one more day to make eating breakfast a part of your child’s lifestyle:
- It Encourages Healthy Eating Habits
Children who make a habit of eating breakfast every day are more likely to continue to do so throughout their lives. Studies have also shown that eating breakfast on a daily basis helps individuals maintain a healthy body weight. Eating healthy meals, starting with breakfast, is just as important as physical education and activity for young children. Make sure your family breakfast is well-balanced and nutrient-rich. A breakfast high in protein and complex carbohydrates is ideal, so next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure you pick up some cereal, eggs and oatmeal.
If your children aren’t eating breakfast on a regular basis, try to incorporate it into their schedule by having them wake up a little earlier each morning. You can also involve them in writing the grocery list. When kids feel like they have more ownership over the foods in front of them, they are more likely to actually eat them. Skim milk, wholegrain cereals/waffles, fruit and 100% juice are nutritious foods that they will probably be excited to buy and, more importantly, to eat.
- It Improves Their Concentration
The Nutrition Consortium of New York State tells us that children who eat a well-balanced breakfast show improved academic performance, demonstrate a longer attention span, have better attendance and experience decreased hyperactivity in school. Children also score better on tests if they have had a healthy breakfast beforehand.
If your child is tired, restless or grouchy by the early afternoon, adding breakfast will help stabilize his or her blood sugar and mood. Breakfast will give kids more energy and the ability to concentrate better throughout the day.
- It Boosts Family Bonding
In the digital age, family time is an increasingly precious commodity. Research shows that children greatly benefit from sitting around the table for a meal with their family, and breakfast is no exception. Mealtimes provide the perfect setting for a catch up with one another, so step away from the television and the cell phones, and appreciate some one-on-one communication with your kids. Children who are involved in family meals are also less likely to get into trouble at school and usually perform better in their classes.
While it’s important for kids to start their day with a wholesome breakfast, it’s beneficial for mom and dad, too! Children model the behaviors they see, which makes eating your own well-balanced breakfast with your child a must. If you prioritize a family breakfast, even for just 10 to 15 minutes each day, you will all enjoy a healthier and more positive start to the morning.
The old saying holds true: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. The morning meal has a direct influence on how we perform mentally and physically. When you provide the best breakfast experience for your children, you give them the opportunity to have a fantastic and effective day. Make sure your child’s breakfast is lower in sugar, rich in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. Fuel them with the food that will keep them fit and full, and you’ll maximize the benefits for the family, too.
SPARK is a research-based program that provides award-winning, evidence-based programs for Physical Education (K-12), Classroom Physical Activity & Recess, After School, Early Childhood, Nutrition and Health. Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum, training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders worldwide.
For more ideas, take a look at these other articles from Together Counts™!
- Cooking and Eating Together – A Recipe to Strengthen Your Family
- Healthy Lifestyle: Teaching Your Child to Cook
- Can a Healthier Lifestyle Promote Good Character in Kids?