Does Breakfast Make Your Child Smarter?
Does breakfast make your child smarter?
“Mommy, I’m not hungry.”
How many times have we heard our children say it while the breakfast lies untouched on the table?
How often have we had to bargain with our child who insists on nothing more than a glass of milk?
So, is it worth the fight or is there really truth in the old saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”?
In the context of our children’s learning potential and school performance, the answer is an unequivocal ‘YES!’.
Many studies have linked healthy eating in childhood to optimal health, growth and intellectual development. Children who do not eat breakfast are less able to learn, leading to lower math scores, attention problems and behavior, emotional and academic problems.* From memory to creativity, there’s an impact on several areas of a child’s learning.
So, what exactly is a healthy breakfast for school children?
For children to perform optimally in school, their breakfast must:
- Provide 20-25% of our child’s daily energy requirement, which varies depending on their age, gender, weight and height and physical activity level.
- Provide at least 1/4 of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins, and minerals.
- Contain at least 3 food groups including, grains (breads and cereals), fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products and proteins foods (meats, legumes and nuts).
Here are some examples of a healthy breakfast:
- Scrambled eggs with a side of toast and fruit.
- Oats with nuts and raisins and with a serving of sliced fruits. Allow your child to choose his/her favorite fruits.
- Fruit muffins made with wholegrain flour and a glass of milk.
- Toast with Labneh and sliced vegetables.
- Whole-wheat pancakes served with berries and nuts on top and a glass of milk.
There’s more to breakfast than just a full tummy. Research has found that the benefits of breakfast extend to several areas of a child’s learning and development.
- Breakfast contributes to a healthier diet: children who eat breakfast are more likely to consume more carbohydrates and dietary fiber and lower total fat and cholesterol.
- Breakfast helps children concentrate in class: in order for a child to remain alert and focused, a continuous supply of energy is required throughout the morning to keep glucose levels in the brain high.
- Breakfast sharpens memory: studies have shown that children who eat breakfast have improved attention in late morning performance tasks, retrieve information more quickly and accurately, make fewer errors in problem-solving activities, and perform more complex tasks.
Encouraging our child to have a nutritious breakfast everyday provides him with the right foundation to excel in life. So, let’s whip up those pancakes