Breakfast for children, How and why ?

The most important meal of the day

Nutritionist Dietician, member of the Scientific Nutrition Group

Breakfast is the main meal of the day. That complex and complicated machine that is our body never stops working, even in the moment of sleep. Spends nutrients and energy. So if the waking child does not integrate the losses, then the long-term consequences are negative. The statistics and scientific evidence of many studies on the importance of breakfast are now overwhelming! The habit of breakfast correlates with better health indices (less bad cholesterol), better absorption and use of nutrients, a lower body mass index, especially in girls and better intellectual and learning skills, especially in children.

Especially for an organism with a great need for nutrients, breakfast is the cornerstone of proper nutrition. A child who has a good breakfast every day is an organism that has every opportunity to give its best, not only for development but also for school performance. He is more careful and focused on following the lessons.

Dangers when a child does not eat breakfast.

In addition to the inevitable tiredness and lower performance, hunger and bad food choices come! It is no coincidence that the lack of breakfast leads to greater fat intake and the consumption of junk food, which, unfortunately, at times, the child can also find in school canteens.

Beyond these obvious dangers, there are also many other serious ones with long-term negative consequences. If a child skips breakfast, he deprives the body of a large number of nutrients. If we consider that in the breakfast there are a high number of vitamins (C, A), amino acids, calcium, phosphorus and iron, then a child without breakfast lacks nutrients.

Breakfast, and especially home breakfast, is also a pedagogical element for the child. At the table, we do not only share food, but also our behaviours. Let’s set a good example with proper nutrition.

What should be at breakfast

A little bit of everything! Of course a good dose of carbohydrates for the machine to start! Both with a juice and with fresh fruit. Also, natural fibres that are found both in whole grains and in slices of whole wheat bread. And of course milk for calcium and the protein it contains.

If the combination of milk and cereals is too classic, try the freshness of the yoghurt mixed with the sweetness of the fruit or the taste of the dried fruit.

If, on the other hand, you are a traditionalist, milk, bread, butter and honey or a little homemade jam will make the children lick their fingers. But be careful not to overdo it! The slices of bread must be lightly spread, not covered.

But even a sandwich with cheese can be a small and quick alternative. Add half a glass of milk, small fruit and breakfast is done.

Another excellent solution on the days when you have some time is an omelette or a boiled egg with some bread and of course juice or fruit.

And if mom cooks well, a piece of homemade dessert (without too much sugar), or 3-4 homemade cookies with a glass of milk and fruit, will be fine.

But even if there is none of this, milk with some wholemeal biscuits and a fruit is a good breakfast.

What to avoid?

The important thing is that the child has breakfast! Unfortunately, the most common mistake made today is skipping breakfast. Thus more and more children are losing their main meal. But another big mistake is the hasty, even standing breakfast. Not only because most of the time you end up eating little, but even this small amount weighs on your stomach. Unchewed food will be processed with difficulty by the digestive system. Perhaps, for this reason, the child complains about stomach aches at school a few times. 

A third but no less significant mistake is the poor quality breakfast. Too much-hidden sugar, many fats, even salt are found in many packaged foods. So pay attention to food and we don’t just eat to fill the stomach.

A few more tips

• Get them to take action. Let the children express their wishes and – why not? – who participate in the preparation of breakfast. This will not only make them more responsible but also root their breakfast habit.

• Avoid stereotypes and monotony. Offer a variety of alternatives and choices. Unleash your imagination and creativity. A cheerful breakfast is the best start for young and old.

• Be an example for children. Even if you haven’t learned to eat breakfast, get used to it. Not for any particular reason, but simply think that the children of parents who do not eat breakfast will also adopt this bad habit.

• If you see that your child doesn’t want to eat, don’t take the situation to extremes. You will have contrary results. However, take care that he takes something nutritious and substantial with him.