…while keeping sane. Every. Single. Morning.
This is the first article in our 10-part series that drills down on each individual point in 10 Ways to Make Your Kid Fat. Stay tuned for more.
Your mom really was right when she said: You can’t learn on an empty stomach, child. A healthy kids’ breakfast each morning is essential for a successful school day.
You’ve spent endless hours researching the best school for your little Einstein. You sit with him to prepare for a test. You scrutinize his teacher’s ability to foster his true talents. So why would you want to skip the most simple step to put your kid at an academic advantage? The one healthy habit that is completely in YOUR control and only takes a few minutes every morning? Send your child off with a nutritious breakfast in his tummy. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast have better learning ability and a higher energy level at school. They are also less irritable and fatigued.
What eating breakfast does to your kid’s growing body and brain
Overnight, your child’s body uses up its glucose reserve, because there is no new food supply. By morning, your kid essentially is in fasting mode. Cliché but true: If you send little precious off to school like that, she is running on empty. A healthy kids’ breakfast jumpstarts and refuels the body with energy. What’s more, experts say that the benefits of a satisfying breakfast last throughout the day, as it helps us choose a lighter lunch and a better dinner. Why? Because a healthy kids’ breakfast helps prevent hunger and cravings later on.
Children (and adults) who eat adequate breakfast also have lower cholesterol levels and a healthier weight, according to the American Dietetic Association.
5 tips for nailing healthy kids’ breakfasts and still surviving school mornings
Unless your family lives in a Florida orange juice commercial, your mornings are probably insane. It’s not that you personally are doing anything wrong per se. No. Mornings come that way by nature…
So here is your keep-it-together-in-the-morning list:
- Frontload the mundane stuff (helping them pack their backpacks, setting the breakfast table…) to the night before. Sounds duh? Then how come you haven’t already been doing it routinely for years?
- Even duh-er: If you run out of time every flippin’ single morning, then buy yourself some more time… from your alarm clock. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow morning, and see if that relaxes you.
- Stay focused. Don’t watch The Today Show (sorry, Matt L., we love you, but you just have this way of distracting a women from the task at hand…) or check your email while trying to get the kids off to school.
- Have emergency breakfasts at hand – you know, for the really, really bad mornings, when everything goes wrong or takes twice as long. Simply grabbing a banana and a single-serve pack of milk for breakfast in the car is better than nothing – if it keeps you sane. Just don’t let it become a habit and you’re good.
- Sugary foods like pastries or sugarcoated cereal are a bad idea for kids’ breakfast. They cause a spike in your kid’s blood sugar, followed by a “crash” later in the morning that leaves your child with low energy and symptoms of hunger. It will be hard to concentrate for him and he’ll be a lot more likely to gorge on a less healthy lunch.
- Ingredients in a balanced kids’ breakfast should be lower in sugar and saturated fat. Healthy breakfast foods that contain good carbs, protein, healthy fats and fiber provide a more constant release of energy and fend off the dreaded mid-morning hunger attack.
- Think outside the cereal box: Don’t fret if typical breakfast foods don’t appeal to your child. Maybe she’s a savory kid. It’s anything but crazy to serve whole grain pasta salad with veggies for breakfast. Nothing wrong with a small serving of leftover casserole for breakfast. Or how about sliced turkey (lean protein) on whole-grain toast (carbohydrates and fiber), served with fresh fruit?
- Make a batch of healthy muffins and freeze them. Popping one in the microwave in the morning is easy enough.
- With the right ingredients, even a small breakfast counts toward a good start in the morning. Your kids don’t have to sit at the breakfast table for what seems forever and finish a huge plate of food.
For more healthy breakfast ideas for kids, check out ZisBoomBah’s kids’ breakfast recipes and the suggestions from some of our favorite sites around the Web:
Know of other great websites with healthy breakfast recipes for kids? Don’t keep them to yourself. Share them in the comments below to help other parents have saner mornings and still manage to put a nutritious kids’ breakfast on the table… (and comb ALL kids’ hair, plus their own. And throw on a semi-not-too-harsh-on-the-eye outfit themselves. And get gas on the way to school. And, most importantly, keep it positive…)