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Get Your Child to Eat Breakfast

November 30, 2014 by HealthyFamilies BC

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 boy at table eating cereal


Try these tasty and healthy breakfast ideas to get your child to eat this important morning meal.

Why breakfast is important

A healthy breakfast gives children the energy they need to handle their busy days. Children who eat a breakfast can concentrate on playing, learning, remembering and solving problems better.

Research shows that a healthy breakfast can help children perform better at school.

Breakfast eaters also tend to:

  • have better school attendance than those who regularly skip breakfast
  • be less likely to snack on high sodium, sugary or fatty foods, which helps them maintain a healthy weight.

What a healthy breakfast looks like

A healthy breakfast needs to have a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to keep energy levels steady all morning. A combination of foods from 3 of the 4 food groups helps to meet this balance.

School-age kids and teenagers might like to choose from options such as oatmeal, granola, low-sugar whole grain cereal, boiled eggs, omelettes, whole grain toast with peanut butter or cheese, fruit and natural yogurt.

Did you know?
Choosing healthy foods and eating enough breakfast will help your child get through the morning. Highly processed, sugary cereals won’t provide the right balance of nutrients and will cause her to feel hungry sooner.

Breakfast ideas to encourage reluctant breakfast eaters

You’re an important role model when it comes to eating. Showing your kids that breakfast can be yummy and that it’s an important part of your day is a good way to encourage them to eat it. Here are more breakfast ideas to encourage healthy eating habits in the morning:

  • Make breakfast a time to sit and eat with your kids. Being a good example is a powerful way to change their habits.
  • If your child says he’s not very hungry in the morning, try making a healthy smoothie, with milk and/or yogurt and include cut-up fresh or frozen fruit such as a banana, strawberries or blueberries.
  • Another option is for your child to eat a small meal at home, such as a small bowl of oatmeal or a piece of wholegrain toast with nut butter. You can then give your child a healthy snack to eat before school starts – for example, a sandwich or some natural yoghurt with fruit.
  • If a hectic morning schedule gets in the way of breakfast, try setting your child’s alarm 10 minutes earlier, or packing your child’s bag and laying out her clothes the night before. You could even get the next day’s breakfast ready the night before – mix pancake batter and have it ready for the morning or make egg and veggie frittatas in a muffin pan to warm them in the microwave.
  • Sometimes kids can be picky eaters and respond better at mealtimes if the food is familiar. Offer your child healthy breakfast foods you know they like.
  • Older children and teenagers might refuse to eat breakfast as a way of showing their independence. Try not to make a big deal about this. You could suggest your child try any of the above tips and take favourite foods that are portable to have on the trip to school instead. Your child might also like to choose his own healthy breakfast options when out shopping.

Did you know?
A recent study showed that children who skipped breakfast were more likely to have parents who didn’t encourage them to eat in the morning.

Nutritional benefits of breakfast

Eating breakfast will give your child energy and get her metabolism started. It will help her body use the food she eats more efficiently throughout the day. After a night without food, like a car without gas in its tank, your body does not have the energy it needs. This is why we need a fuel top-up before we tackle the day.

© Raising Children Network Limited, reproduced with permission.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Healthy Eating for Children 
HealthLink BC: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits 

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