Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for both adults and children. It provides the body with the energy it needs to keep active all day. So, even if you are pressed for time in the mornings, make sure that your child has a nutritious breakfast before he leaves for nursery or school. By doing this, you help enhance his mental and physical performance and learning throughout the day.
The role of breakfast in your child's physical and mental performance
Breakfast plays a vital role in enhancing your child's physical and mental performance, as well as his ability to learn. The reason for this is that breakfast provides a major source of energy for the brain, after a 10 or 12-hour gap since the last meal. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat breakfast cereals and breads, are absorbed by the body slowly, so they give your child energy all day long.
Many studies have shown that children who regularly eat breakfast have better mental performance than children who don't.
Children who eat breakfast surpass their peers in:
- Attention, concentration and class participation
- Memory retention and speech fluency
- Good social behaviour
- Love for school and interest in studying
A good breakfast also makes it more likely that your child will:
- Meet his daily nutritional requirements
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Enjoy better health and fewer sick days from school
What is a healthy breakfast?
A healthy breakfast is a meal that is rich in complex carbohydrates. Here are some examples of a healthy breakfast:
- A glass of milk with a breakfast cereal
- A boiled egg
- A banana
Or it can be:
- A glass of milk
- A piece of whole-wheat bread with labneh or cheese
- An apple
Make breakfast healthier by including as many of the five food groups as possible. Also, variety encourages children to eat, boosts their appetite and helps provide them with a wide range of beneficial nutrients.
Most importantly - don't forget that you and your husband are the best role models for your child, so if you both eat breakfast, your child will too.
(This article is developed by the NIDO® Child Development Expert Panel)