Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Your Child to Eat a Good Breakfast

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is a great way to ensure that your child is able to meet his daily requirements for protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fluids and other dietary essentials.

Benefits of a Good Breakfast
Eating a good breakfast goes beyond helping to meet your child's basic nutritional needs. Studies show that children who eat a good breakfast are more alert in school, have more energy,  and do better in academic and physical performance than those who skip breakfast. 

Reducing Junk Food Consumption
If your child eats a good breakfast, he is less likely to stop by the corner store or vending machine to fill up on sodas, cookies, and other junk food. These sugary, high-calorie snacks lack the important nutrients that children need for healthy growth and development. Instead, these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods offer an excess of calories that may easily contribute to the growing problem of childhood obesity in this country.

Get a Head Start on Breakfast
You can take the stress out of trying to figure out what to give your child for breakfast if you have a plan. Here are a few simple suggestions:
  • When grocery shopping, keep breakfast in mind. Of course, having a shopping list is always a good idea. Buy foods that are easy to prepare or that can be eaten on the go without making a mess. Read the nutrition label on food packages and avoid those with a large amount of sugar, fat or salt. The less processed, the better.
  • Plan ahead. Review breakfast plans for the next day - even if it is just a mental review of what you plan to prepare for breakfast. Make sure  that you have what you need. 
  • Post a menu on the refrigerator or in some other place where older children can see it and place breakfast foods within easy reach so that no one has to ask where things are or waste time trying to find the foods they need. This includes zippered bags or other containers for packing breakfast to go, in case you are running out of time.
  • Let your child help with planning, preparing and serving or packing breakfast as soon as he is old enough to do so. 
  • And here’s the biggie: Get kids to bed early and get them up 10 to 15 minutes earlier than usual to allow more time for breakfast. 
Breakfast to Go
Sometimes, there just isn't enough time to get kids out of bed, get them ready for school and have them sit down to a good breakfast. As a result, it becomes necessary to pack breakfast to eat on the go. 

Here are a few menu ideas for those times when it becomes necessary for your child to eat breakfast on the go. 

– Whole grain breakfast cereal, milk and grapes

Tuesday - Cheese sandwich with whole wheat bread and cran-grape juice

Wednesday – Sliced turkey, lettuce, whole wheat bread and milk

Thursday - Whole grain breakfast cereal, milk and banana

Friday – Peanut butter sandwich, milk and apple

Note: Many schools now offer breakfast. If your child participates in the school breakfast program, make sure that he gets there on time.

Your Weekend Breakfast
Weekends give the whole family a chance to sleep a little later and have a leisurely breakfast. Here are a couple ideas for your sit-down, family style breakfast.

Saturday - Pancakes, omelet, milk and strawberries

Sunday – Hot oatmeal with raisins, milk and orange juice

Without a doubt, mornings can be hectic - trying to get children out of bed and to school on time is no easy task, especially when you also have to make an early start to get to work on time. But with a little advance planning, you can have your kids eating a healthy breakfast and out the door in good time.