Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast can help your little one to learn and grow by providing the energy and nutrients they need to fuel their brain and body.
Why is breakfast important?
Breakfast does exactly what the word says, it breaks the fast after a night’s sleep and provides the body and brain with fuel to start the day. Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs energy to work properly. With growing bodies and developing brains, it’s important for young children to eat a good breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast can help little ones to concentrate and give them energy to play and learn.
What should be in a healthy breakfast?
Once your little one is old enough to eat solids (for helpful information on introducing solids to babies, visit the Raising Children Network), you can encourage them to start the day with a healthy breakfast. For young children, healthy breakfast options include carbohydrates such as wholegrain cereals and porridge, which will give your child immediate energy to start the day. Proteins such as eggs and low-fat dairy provide a slower release of energy to fuel the rest of the day. Foods with natural fibre, like wholegrain bread and fresh fruit, give a feeling of fullness and help with digestion.
How you can help
- Encourage your child to wake up with enough time to have breakfast every day.
- Identify some convenient and healthy breakfast options that your child enjoys.
- Lead by example and let your child see you eating a healthy breakfast.
Helping your child to develop a healthy breakfast routine while they are little can create a healthy habit to last them right through their school years – and for life!
Eat and talk!
The more you talk with your child, the more they learn, so a chatty breakfast is a good breakfast! Use breakfast time to ask questions and talk about food, clothes, weather, the day’s plans – anything and everything. Even if you are doing all the talking, it helps to build your child’s vocabulary and conversation skills. For example, you can ask, ‘How many strawberries shall I put in your cereal?’ or ‘It’s cold today, what shall we wear?’ or perhaps say, ‘Let’s go to the park after we finish breakfast.’