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What we know about breakfast

Parents are continually being told that children learn better at school when they have had breakfast. Even so, by late primary school nearly one quarter of children go to school without having had breakfast and this number increases as children get older.

I am guessing that you have heard many reasons why it is important for kids to have breakfast before school:

  • They perform memory tasks better
  • Their concentration is better
  • They are more likely to participate in physical activity

In addition to the advantages for school performance, children who regularly eat breakfast, are more likely to get enough calcium, iron, fibre and vitamin B. It is harder to make up these nutrients later in the day.
This is all correct, however, I am guessing it makes you feel bad if yours is one of the kids not eating breakfast.

What can you do to help your child eat something before school?

  1. Be a good example – you can’t expect kids to eat breakfast if they see that you don’t.
  2. Think outside the square – breakfast doesn’t have to be any particular food. If your child doesn’t like/want cereal or toast, you can offer:
    • raisin toast
    • eggs – you can make hard-boiled eggs the night before
    • fruit and yogurt
    • fruit smoothie
    • a can of baked beans
    • leftovers from the night before. One of my daughters was really happy when there was leftover lasagne or tuna mornay.
    • a bowl of rice, noodles or creamy rice pudding
    • leftover pasta with cheese
    • A glass of milk with Milo
  3. On – the – run options – If your child is getting up too late to sit down for breakfast, have something for them that they can take and eat before school
    • A carton of long-life flavoured or plain milk. Milk, whether it is flavoured or not, provides protein, fat and carbohydrate in the one food. In fact, milk is a low GI food, so it is digested slowly and will help with concentration and keep your child feeling full longer than many other foods. Liquid breakfasts based on milk are also a good food to eat before school.
  4. Other quick foods you can try are:
    • a toasted cheese sandwich,
    • a piece of fruit
    • an extra sandwich

Happy feeding!