We all know that eating breakfast is important, but it is still the meal that is the first to be squeezed out due to the morning rush. Starting the day with a healthy meal is especially important for children heading out for a busy school day; they can’t pop open the fridge or grab a snack if they decide they’re hungry half an hour after leaving home. A healthful breakfast provides energy, promotes concentration, and supports children’s metabolism which affects their ability to maintain a healthy body weight.
Some children wake up starving while others don’t want to eat as early as they have to in order to make it to school on time. Eating breakfast is a habit that some kids need to practice before it comes naturally to them. To support the breakfast habit in your home, try the following suggestions:
1. Set the table before going to bed. This saves precious minutes on school mornings, reducing rush and stress.
2. Establish a few healthful, go-to breakfasts that require little thought and preparation. Whole-grain toast with almond or peanut butter, fresh fruit, cold cereals, low-fat granola, nuts or yogurts can be on the table in a few short minutes, and many children can prepare these easy meals themselves.
3. Develop a repertoire of simple dishes that add diversity to what can become a cereal or frozen-waffle rut. Breakfast burritos are quick and easy to prepare, and the stuffing can include eggs, turkey bacon, tofu, salsa, potatoes…endless possibilities. They’re warm and filling — a nice way to start the day.
4. Keep pre-made foods on hand that can be served up quickly: eggs boiled the day before, wholegrain muffins, cereal bars or breads.
5. Think outside the box. Breakfast can include brown rice, warm veggies, soups and other items we usually don’t associate with morning meals. As long as it’s nutritious, fairly easy on the body, sustaining, and will be eaten (most important!), why not give it a try.
6. If you’re always rushed in the morning, you might have to accept the fact that your family needs to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier than you currently do. That may seem painful at first, but once you get used to having less tension in the morning, and you’re all leaving the house fed and calmer, it may seem like a small sacrifice.
If you have any favorite school morning recipes or tips for getting kids fed in the morning, let us know.