By Lisa Holcomb
We all know they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Then why are approximately 8–12 percent of school age children skipping breakfast? By the time kids hit their teens, as many as 20–30 percent are skipping breakfast.
Why exactly is it so important that kids (and adults as well) eat a good breakfast before starting their day? Well, for starters, consider these reasons:
- Eating breakfast can help improve math, reading, and test scores.
- Children who eat breakfast are more likely to behave better in school (even if you homeschool) than those who don’t.
- Breakfast helps children pay attention and perform problem-solving tasks, and it improves memory.
- Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast on a regular basis are less likely to be overweight.
- Eating breakfast as a child is important for establishing healthy habits for later in life.
- More strength and endurance is available to engage in physical activity
So, what kind of breakfast is the best for our kids and what can we prepare them that is fast and easy, as well as nutritious? Anything high in protein and fiber will keep hunger at bay and give them the energy they need to make it to lunch. Avoid feeding kids a breakfast low in fiber and protein like sugary toaster pastries, sugar-laden cereals, etc. I know these are easy to fix, but it doesn’t benefit the body. These can lead to a midmorning energy crash. This happens when the carbs are digested and absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar levels to dive after a spike. Kids can also get headaches and become cranky.
Instead, provide your children with a high-protein, high-fiber meal like eggs with whole wheat toast. This kind of meal digests more slowly, preventing hunger, and keeping blood sugar levels even. This applies to adults as well. I can always tell when I’ve eaten a breakfast too high in carbs; I’m crashing by midmorning. Not a pretty sight!
Here are some healthy (and simple) breakfast ideas that you can quickly make:
Scrambled eggs with cheese—Fast, simple, and high in protein.
A bowl of oatmeal—Not the instant kind. It’s loaded with sugar.
Oatmeal Cups to Go—Make them ahead of time and you’ve got breakfast ready in the morning.
Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie—Throw it all in the blender and you’ve got a healthy breakfast.
Greek yogurt topped with fruit—No cooking required here at all.
Hardboiled egg and yogurt—You can even boil the eggs the night before.
Homemade Trail Mix—Make some over the weekend and you’ll have it ready during the week.
When you plan your weekly meal plan, go ahead and include plans for breakfast, lunches, and snacks. It doesn’t take much longer and you’ll know you have a game plan. If you need help, there are online menu planning services that can help you plan your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
Tell us some of your favorite healthy breakfast ideas you make for your kids. We’d love to hear about them!
Lisa Holcomb and her husband, Will, have six children (her oldest two children are married and have babies of their own) and live near Austin, Texas, with their four boys. Lisa is co-founder of Build A Menu and is known as the “Queen of Meal Time Makeovers.” She is an author, speaker, and an advocate for adoption, family nutrition, savvy grocery shopping, and family dinners.