Why Is Breakfast An Important Meal Of The Day For Your Child?
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Dec 11, 2019
Breakfast is one meal that is quite important to begin a day and this is one meal that your child avoids – either the child is genuinely not hungry and or he or she doesn’t feel like eating. So how to ensure that your child eats his or her breakfast and what are the options you can offer your child for the breakfast. But before let’s see why breakfast is an important meal for your child.
Why Is Breakfast Important For Your Child?
Breakfast is consumed nearly 10-12 hours of overnight fasting. When we sleep at night, our body rests but our brain doesn’t. It continues to use energy (glucose) from body stores. So, when we wake up in the morning, our body needs to recover from a ‘fasting’ state. And if we don’t supply energy, it will not function.
Just by giving this meal you can make a huge, positive difference to your child’s health. Children who habitually eat breakfast tend to have a better academic performance. So, take better range of nutrients including dietary fiber, iron, B-complex and have better body mass index.
What Should Your Child Eat For Breakfast?
Breakfast should have a variety. Giving a glass of milk every day or a fruit will not work. Complex carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat (for satiety) are ideal.
- Carbohydrates: Include complex carbohydrates, as they supply a more gradual release of energy (whole-wheat atta chapattis/bread, Dalia, porridge, chirwa and breakfast cereals, particularly oats). You should also avoid giving sugary breakfast cereals as they are rapidly digested leading to an immediate increase in blood glucose. Then after an hour blood, glucose levels will go down and the child will be hungry again!
- Proteins: Try to include proteins daily as it important for growth of your child and is the most satiating. Choose from milk, curd, cheese, eggs, dals, nuts, and more. Egg with its complete protein has been found to be a perfect breakfast food as not only do they reduce hunger, they also provide high biological value proteins. Wheat germ, besan, sprouts, flaxseed, almonds and walnuts also add to the protein content.
- Dietary fibre: Fibre helps maintain healthy digestive tract and gives the child satiety, which is especially required in morning hours. Giving fibre would also ensure a steady supply of glucose to the brain of the child through school hours. This helps in better concentration, retention and hence better learning. You may choose from the following foods-fruits, vegetables, 1 high-fibre cereals like oats, barley, ragi, or whole cereal chapatti with atta, bajra, ragi, besan, and etc
- Vitamins: B-complex vitamins help in production of memory and learning neurotransmitters. So, include sprouts, eggs, nuts, milk, beans, and whole grains in breakfast. Neurotransmitters manufactured with the help of Vitamin C improve attention and memory while reducing fatigue and stress. So, give fresh fruits especially citrus ones, or an amla. Vitamins like A, D and E are also essential and can be managed with one serving of fruit or vegetable in breakfast. Fruits like papaya and mangoes, and vegetables like mint, methi, and spinach could be added to stuffed chapatti, besan cheela, and omelette to get vitamin A. Also, whole grains, nuts, soybeans, and seeds will ensure vitamin E
- Minerals: Like calcium (figs, dairy), magnesium and potassium also help the brain to function properly. Magnesium also helps relieve stress and can be obtained from soya products like soya milk, tofu and nuggets. Potassium is found in bananas and potatoes. Iron required for production of haemoglobin in blood is found in eggs, green leafy vegetables, bajra (millet) raisins, munakas, watermelon, and soybean
- Fats: Some amount of fats must be included with nuts, vegetable oils like olive and canola to power up the satiety value of breakfast
What To Do If Your Child Is Not Eating Breakfast?
If your child is avoiding breakfast, try waking up your child half an hour earlier than usual. This would help the child to be more relaxed and have more time to have breakfast.
Sometimes a child may not like to have heavy breakfast, first thing in the morning. If this is the case offer breakfast once the child is ready. You may also encourage the child to be more active and indulge in some physical activity or exercise in the morning. This would help in increasing his/her appetite for breakfast. You should also try and offer lighter breakfast options like cereals, nuts, fruit, boiled egg, milk, porridge, and etc.
8 Quick & Easy Breakfast Options
- Boiled eggs
- Oats/dalia porridge with a fruit
- Ragi/bajra pancake with vegetable or fruit filling
- Any leftover veggies (or fresh vegetable) toaster sandwich with one glass milk and an orange
- Spinach besan cheela with green chutney and some plain yoghurt
- Idli with vegetables and peanuts, orange, and almond milk shake
- Cheese mushroom omelette with toast and apple
- Cereal with walnuts, milk and banana
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