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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Importance of breakfast for children

I have noticed at my nursery class that few children come to school without eating breakfast and parents don't know that breakfast is important for young learners. 

National studies consistently confirm that breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Eating breakfast:
  • Improves classroom performance, including better test scores and grades
  • Increases children's ability to focus and concentrate on school work
  • Decreases behavior problems, tardiness and visits to the school nurse
  • Increases attendance rate 
When students routinely start their day with breakfast, chances are good that it will become a habit that carries into their teenage and adult years. 

Tiffin or break time can be an alternate to breakfast if kids skip their morning breakfast or snacks.

There is a lot of evidence that breakfast, either at home or at school, is an important way to start the day. Many studies suggest that regular breakfast skippers don't optimize their nutrition during the day. And, going without breakfast can lead to poor behavior. Breakfast eaters are more likely to be calmer, less anxious, more focused and learn better. Breakfast also tends to organize children's day, particularly if they eat breakfast at school.

A regular pattern of missing breakfast is likely to lead to not eating all the important nutrients. Breakfast offers an opportunity for children to make up whatever they might not get in the rest of the day, especially if they snack on foods that provide few nutrients and little fiber.

Plan the breakfast or tiffin in ahead keeping in mind:
  • Let the Food Groups Be the Guide. As a rule-of-thumb, make sure lunches include at least three of the MyPyramid Five Food Groups. Pack whole, fresh foods instead of processed foods. For example, fresh fruit instead of fruit snacks.
  • Have Children Buy Milk. Send money to school for children to purchase milk with their lunch instead packing a fruit juice, fruit-drink or soft drink. Research shows that children who drink milk with lunch are more likely to meet their daily calcium needs. Fruit flavored beverages and soft drinks provide calories and few, if any, nutrients. If children bring juice with lunch, make sure it is 100 percent juice. Make sure you pack low-fat cheese or a yogurt in their lunch for a Milk Group serving.
  • Let Children Choose Flavored Milk. Flavored milk has the same nutrients as white milk. Research shows that children who drink flavored milk don't consume more fat or sugar than children who drink only white milk.
  • Serve the Same Foods with a New Twist. Cut cheese into cubes instead of slices or cut apples into circles instead of wedges.
  • Consider Likes and Dislikes. Have your children help you create a list of foods they like for lunch. Take them to the grocery store and ask for lunch box suggestions.
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