“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper”… these statements are common to everyone’s ears but are hardly ever followed.
In the midst of the morning rush, given that most adults in urban areas travel far from home for work, meals are skipped for varied reasons. Children and teenagers are no different as they barely manage to grab a glass of milk before rushing to school in the morning. Many working parents who’re in a hurry themselves, can’t rustle up quick, healthy options at home, or are unaware of the benefits of eating breakfast.
There are several pieces of evidence to prove that having a reasonably wholesome breakfast combining milk, grains, and fruit reduces weight gain by giving a good metabolic start to the body and decreasing binge eating later in the day.
Breakfast helps in building up memory. After a long gap post dinner, our stomach needs something to get energy, so does our mind. Breakfast provides both the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration in the classroom.
- Research proves that children who eat breakfast have better concentration during school hours than those who skip the morning meal. Numerous studies suggest that eating breakfast every day can even improve children’s mental performance and math scores.
- Eating a well-balanced breakfast improves their intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C; these nutrients are essential in a balanced diet. In fact, a good breakfast provides one-fourth to one-third of the day’s energy and nutrient needs.
- Eating behaviors can promote or diminish healthy nutrition. Erratic eating behaviors are the cause of rising nutritional disorders setting in like obesity and malnutrition.
- Skipping breakfast also makes the child feel tired, restless or irritable by mid-morning. In fact, studies show that children who eat a healthy breakfast in the morning tend to concentrate better in class, show improved academic performance, better attendance and decreased hyperactivity in school.
As a parent, you can also aim to make breakfast time fun for kids. Simple and easy to execute ideas include making regular sandwiches in different shapes or creating “food art” on the plate with fruits and vegetables to attract your child’s attention. The goal is to ensure your child starts enjoying this first meal of the day. That way, even if they have to wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual to eat, they won’t be cranky.
Parents should try and eat with their child and model positive behaviors. Show them how much you enjoy healthy food like poha, idli, dalia, milk, cereal etc for breakfast and how such a nutritious colorful breakfast keeps you healthy and fit.
In conclusion, it suffices to say that as parents and caregivers we should ensure that the child goes to school with a full stomach. Parents could plan ahead by deciding what the child is going to eat for breakfast the previous evening itself and prepare adequately for it by chopping vegetables or getting ingredients from the store.
One doesn’t need too much time to consume a healthy breakfast. Wake up your little one 15 minutes earlier to organize a quick, yet healthy breakfast on the go!
This article was also featured on Zee News!
Senior Manager – Education & Research,
Sesame Workshop in India
Sesame Workshop in India