Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to refuel your brain and body after a night’s sleep. Breakfast literally means breaking the fast. After a night’s sleep, we need to refuel our body and brain. By choosing a healthy breakfast you can fill up with lots of essential vitamins like fibre, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B12
In fact, there is research to show that those who chose a healthy breakfast tend to have higher intakes of calcium, fibre and folate and lower intakes of total fat than breakfast skippers. Apart from the nutritional benefits, eating a healthy breakfast can improve concentration, which may really help children to settle back during those first weeks of school. Also eating together in the morning offers an opportunity for people to relax and chat and let little ones voice any concerns or worries they might have as they re-adjust to the new school routine.
Aim to include a fibre rich food…that could be a low sugar breakfast cereal, porridge or bread. Add some protein like milk, egg or yoghurt and top with some fruit. Carbohydrates convert to glucose and fuel the brain and muscles; protein is needed for muscle maintenance and growth; dairy offers calcium and vitamin B12 while the fruit will give vitamin C which helps support the immune system. Starting the day with a balanced breakfast can help give your family a nutritional boost.
In a recent survey by Keelings, 47% said they ate breakfast together during the lockdown. One definite positive of lockdown I have seen is the act of eating more meals together and hopefully, this is something that we can continue as we get back to normality.
- Always include some colour! It is a good idea to include colour at every meal and good to start this at a young age so kids get used to seeing colour at every meal. Adding fruit will increase vitamin C which helps support the immune system and helps the body absorb iron from any fortified breakfast cereal.
- Try to take time…take time to chew, taste and enjoy your breakfast. It should only take 10-15 minutes and your digestion will appreciate that you took the time!
- Always include a protein….This can be in the form of milk, yoghurt, eggs, nuts or seeds. Ideally, we want to consume some protein at each meal to optimise muscle maintenance.
- Store breakfast bowls, cereals and fruit in a place where you child can easily access them…once they get to the age of 6 or 7 (depending on your child!) they will be able to get their own breakfast. Handy at the weekends if they wake earlier than you!
- It’s ok to have plan A and plan B breakfasts….so plan A is you sit together and have a healthy balanced breakfast. Plan B is for when time runs out! Try some breakfast bars and a glass of milk or make a smoothie with fruit and plain yoghurt or milk that you can have on the go!