The Importance of Your Child’s Breakfast — Every Day

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

Many parents allow their children to skip breakfast. Parents may reason that the children aren’t hungry in the morning, and by skipping breakfast they avoid a bunch of calories. However, eating breakfast is important because it shifts the body out of starvation mode and into action.

When a body thinks that it’s starving, it hoards energy by slowing down the burning of calories. Concentration becomes difficult. A child often becomes cranky and isn’t able to run, play, or jump with much enthusiasm. A school-aged child won’t do well in morning lessons.

The healthiest breakfasts are a combination of whole grains, some form of lowfat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese (for calcium and protein), and a little fat. Like any meal, avoid eating sweet breakfast foods without balancing them with fiber, protein, or fat because the sugar load can backfire in an energy crash.

Be practical: Breakfast can be as simple as a granola bar or half a tuna sandwich and milk or as homespun as a warming bowl of hot cereal sweetened with raisins. That your child eats something every morning — even if it’s a slice of cold left over pizza — is what’s important.