Do you run after your kid to get him or her to finish dinner? Is breakfast also the same story? Then remember that even if you let them skip dinner, you should never let them skip what is considered THE most important meal of the day– breakfast. As the name implies, it is a meal that breaks the fast. After dinner there is a minimum gap of eight hours post which the next meal is consumed. This makes the next meal all the more important as it should be something that eases the body into action after repose. Need more reasons? Read on!
On the face of it, breakfast seems like any other meal where in your kids get their nutrition from. However, the effect it has on their body in terms of behavioral and cognitive performance is immense. There are many reasons to make sure your child doesn’t skip breakfast of which the most important ones are listed here.
1. Boost Metabolism
When you sleep, your body is in rest mode. To kick start the burning of calories post a good night’s rest, a healthy nutritious breakfast with fruit, calcium and other important vitamins is the best solution. According to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, not skipping breakfast increases the resting metabolism in your child’s body by a whopping ten percent.
2. Helps Focus Better
When your child gets ample nutrition through a regular healthy breakfast, their body responds by being alert and ready for the day. They are better focused on their tasks as they are not preoccupied or distracted from the rumbling of their stomachs.
3. Energy Booster
Studies show that children with higher levels of energy during the day are the ones who have a habit of never skipping breakfast. Children have a higher brain glucose metabolism compared to adults and are particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of skipping breakfast.
The effect that nutrition from breakfast has on the brain activity; cognitive as well as behavioral outcomes of your child are multifold. Hence, it does make sense to roll up your sleeves and choose the breakfast battle over the other battles you may be facing to brave through during the day.
4. LDL Cholesterol
It is also a fact that consumption of breakfast leads to a normal Body Mass Index of children as compared to those who skip breakfast. The act of consuming breakfast often points to other healthy lifestyle choices as against children who skip this meal. Children who skip breakfast are likely to have lower cardio respiratory fitness levels compared to those who don’t.
5. Overall Health
Physical and mental health is interconnected in many ways. Only when the physical body is robust and healthy, the mind can reach great heights of imagination and learning. Blood sugar, cholesterol, and metabolic rate, when not optimal, cause changes in the body that ultimately have an effect on the mind as well.
As a parent, it is very important to make sure the nutritive needs of your child are met in order to make sure the overall growth of your child happens seamlessly. From all the above points listed, it is abundantly clear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day that contributes to the overall health of your child to a very large extent.
6. Improves Memory
Many studies that examine the effect of breakfast on children have one common conclusion. It is the fact that a solid breakfast with healthy nutrients has an effect on the overall cognitive performance of the child, especially in the domains of memory and attentiveness.
A body that has its nutritive needs met has enough energy to indulge in flexing the mental muscles in order to learn new things. Skipping breakfast is associated with behavioral changes of fatigue, crankiness and a sense of lethargy which cannot be a good setting for learning to take place.
7. Improves Mood
It is an age-old mantra that children, whose nutritive requirements are met daily, are less cranky, have better sleep cycles and tend to be more active. An interesting study conducted to see the effect of breakfast consumption on behavior and mood lists that there is an effect of self-reported alertness and general feelings of positivity in children who consume breakfast as against those who start the day in a fasting state.
8. Ensures Essential Nutrition
Most children are very interested in gobbling down their lunch in order to head to the playground for some precious playtime during lunch break. It is impossible as a parent to actually regulate the health quotient of their lunch as children will invariably peck at each other’s lunches.
Hence as a parent, it makes a lot of sense to make breakfast a priority at home both in terms of regularity and nutrition. Make it a point to plan the nutrition of the first meal of the day well in advance in order to accommodate days when it may have to be consumed on-the-go. Planning ahead ensures that nutrition isn’t compromised in such situations.
9. Improves Growth
With a daily breakfast, your child’s body will accumulate the necessary nutrition for the optimal growth of their body and mind. They also tend to gain minerals and vitamins that have the capacity to prevent a number of diseases that arise due to nutritional deficiencies.
10. Prevents Diseases
Lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart issues and obesity are all linked with the act of skipping breakfast in the long run. A solid breakfast has a good regulatory effect on blood sugar levels and prevents metabolic disorders like insulin resistance as well as heart conditions.
11. Regulates Blood Sugar
Meals consumed in regular intervals send vital signals to the human body that everything is alright. The body regulates the blood sugar according to your child’s eating habits. The optimal blood sugar in your child’s body is maintained when the meals are taken on time. A healthy breakfast with protein and healthy fats set the tone for an even bloodsugar level throughout the day.
Regular skipping of breakfast actually puts your child’s body into what is called ‘starvation mode’ where the body tends to store all the food that is consumed instead of converting it into energy. This creates a vicious cycle of low blood sugar, subsequent weight gain and other health issues.
12. Well-Being and Better Mental Health
When your child’s stomach isn’t empty, they tend to feel a better sense of well-being and are geared to go on with the day with optimal energy. An empty stomach on the other hand will make them cranky, peevish and prone to overeat the next meal which will further make them tired afterwards.
Now that you know why breakfast ought not to be skipped, go ahead and plan well in advance on how to will make sure your child’s nutritive needs are met with the most important meal of the day.
As much as it’s important to not skip breakfast, one that’s healthy is also equally essential. Eating junk for the first meal of the day tends to reverse the good effects breakfast has on your child’s metabolism. Alternatively, healthy choices for breakfast set the tone for a healthy day. Planning a meal for a child is no easy feat.
However, if you try to make it a point to pay particular attention to breakfast, your child will invariably follow your lead as children do have a tendency to respond positively to any routine you doggedly follow with them. So arm yourself with the wonderful recipes out there for healthy and nutritive options for breakfast and enjoy these meals together. Happy Parenting!
Are you a parent who places ideal importance on breakfast? Share with us the main vitamins that you incorporate in your kid’s breakfast meal in the comments below! We would love to know.