Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, to use the age-old adage, and most parents know this.
However, trying to get your children to eat breakfast when school goes back can be somewhat difficult, to say the least.
If they’re not complaining that it’s too early to eat, or they aren’t hungry then they’ll be whinging because they can’t decide what to eat. As a result, some school kids leave the house with rumbling stomachs and won’t eat until their first break at school.
Here are some ways to combat the breakfast battles when the kids go back to school.
Why children need to eat a healthy breakfast before school
Skipping breakfast can sometimes lead to headaches or hunger pains. If your child is dealing with hunger pangs and a headache in the classroom, it is safe to say they won’t be very productive. There are many more reasons to eat a healthy breakfast before school each day. These include:
- It has been found that children who eat breakfast have better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye co-ordination. They are also more alert in general, more creative, and less likely to miss school due to illness.
- Breakfast has also been linked to weight issues in children, as kids who skip breakfast tend to eat more, and unhealthier, food during the day. Breakfast helps to wake up the body’s metabolism, which aids in processing and digesting all the food we consume later on.
- If this metabolism isn’t kick-started by breakfast, the body can go into hoarding mode, where it thinks it won’t be fed for a long time and stores too much of the food that is consumed later, causing weight gain.
- Eating a good breakfast with carbohydrates and protein will aid liveliness and activity during the morning part of school as well. If your child has sport or PE before lunch, they’ll be trying to participate on a stomach that hasn’t been fed for up to 15 hours! They’ll have no energy and could even end up feeling faint and missing out altogether.
- A healthy breakfast will help your children play and learn better. The more sugary options can be tempting for a quick rush of energy, but your kids will more likely crash and burn before the energy has a chance to be used. Sticking to the healthy options will give them good energy, not just a sugar rush.
Tips for getting your children to eat a healthy breakfast
Setting a good example is important so that your kids don’t think they’re the only ones who have to eat breakfast. Eating the same thing they are and at the same time will reinforce the idea that breakfast is for the whole family, even mums and dads. Keeping this information in mind, get your children to eat breakfast as part of their normal morning routine, and you’ll most likely keep it there for life. Here are some more tips to help your child eat a healthy breakfast before school:
- If you know your child doesn’t usually like or have time for breakfast, try getting them up 15 minutes earlier. This little extra time can help them wake up more and be ready to eat before they leave. If time and pickiness is still an issue, a simple peanut butter or ham sandwich is always better than nothing.
- If your child is one who complains they aren’t hungry, even though they’ve just spent 10 hours or more without food, consider what time they stopped eating before bed. Try moving dinner to half an hour, or even a full hour, earlier, and stop snacking earlier too, to see if this prompts hunger when your child gets up in the morning.
- Let your child choose what they’d like to eat and help to prepare their breakfast; it will improve their whole attitude towards the meal. Being handed a bowl of cold cereal or toast without being consulted first can make anyone turn away from the idea. If it takes too long for them to decide in the morning, and then set about making what they want, try planning ahead and making up a healthy schedule with them on the weekend.
- You can even make some of the meals in advance and simply take them out of the fridge or freezer, read-to-eat come morning.