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Importance of breakfast to children

 BreakfastPhoto: Shutterstock

A healthy breakfast is the fuel that gets us started in the morning. It reportedly provides your brain with the jumpstart it needs and maintains energy levels throughout the day. The latter is especially important for the growth and development of school-aged children.

Here are some reasons why breakfast should be prioritised:

Increased nutritional intake

Most children do not get enough minerals and vitamins from lunch and dinner alone. By eating a healthy breakfast, they are able to make up for these deficiencies, as breakfast foods are typically rich in fibre, calcium and vitamin C.

Their developing brains and growing bodies are refuelled from these enriched breakfast foods, which helps boost their concentration, attention span and memory, to help them perform their best in school.

In addition, children who start their day with a healthy breakfast also tend to snack less on junk food of low nutritional value.

Improve academic performance

Children who eat breakfast are reportedly less tired and restless, displaying decreased hyperactivity in school. Breakfast refuels their bodies for the day ahead, which helps keep their energy and mood at an optimal level, in turn improving their academic performance and attitude towards school.

Promote weight loss

Establishing a regular eating pattern is key to sustaining a healthy weight, and doing so begins with breakfast.

A carbohydrate-rich and high-fibre breakfast keeps your child’s appetite at bay, so he or she feels full at the start of each day and is therefore less likely to consume high-calorie snacks or eat excessively during lunch or dinner.

Additionally, breakfast provides children with the energy they require to participate in sports and other physical activities, thereby encouraging an active lifestyle and helping them maintain a healthy weight. It will also kick-start the body’s metabolism in the morning, which is important for burning calories.
If your child is not used to eating breakfast, start off by giving him or her a small amount, such as a glass of orange juice or cereal drink, before slowly increasing the amount of food on the plate.

Some nutritious and tasty food options include an omelette with vegetables or whole-wheat muffins. Whole-grain bread, cereal and fruit with yogurt are also good choices.