We often hear from our mothers or doctors: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet many of us skip them for various reasons like wanting to sleep in more, rushing for time and its not their usual habit to have breakfast. According to a survey done by Rise & Shine, out of 363 parents across 5 primary schools, 1 in 3 kids skip their breakfast at least once a week and 46% said there is not enough time to eat!
Now that we have kids of our own, I finally understood why my mom would always nag at me to have breakfast. And now I’m the one running after my active toddler, to feed a slice of multigrain bread or banana, when he wakes up and screams to play his toys first thing in the morning. “No no, have your breakfast first Samuel!”
Why bother with breakfast?
Breakfast is one of the best ways to give our bodies the fuel they need for each day. It is studied that kids who takes breakfast tend to eat healthier overall and are more likely to participate in physical activities. They are also associated with greater alertness, pleasurable tone and lesser anxiety in their daily routines. Skipping breakfast can make our kids feel tired, restless or irritable. Their mood or energy can drop by midmorning if they don’t eat at least a small meal for that morning.
Do you also know that having breakfast will also help our kids’ weight keep in check? Studies have shown that kids who skip breakfast tend to have a higher BMI as they are likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch (Rise & Shine, 2013). Having breakfast will kick-start the body’s metabolism so that the body will start burning calories.
So what is considered as a good healthy breakfast?
The survey also found out that when the kids are asked to list 2 typical foods they ate for breakfast, white bread and sugared cereals appeared almost 4 times more than healthier options such as wholegrain cereals and whole meal bread, and ready-to-drink juices appeared 3.5 times more often than fresh fruits.
While it is important for our kids to have breakfast every day, but what they have for breakfast is crucial too. Studies conducted have also found that kids who consume a healthy, high-energy breakfast such as breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar perform better on tests of creativity and maths! Which also mean that having such healthy breakfast foods will boost our child’s attention span, concentration, and memory – which they need to learn in school. At the same time, it is more likely for our kids to get fiber, calcium and other important nutrients and keep their weight and health under control if they eat healthy breakfast meals.
Rise and Shine is a breakfast campaign which was spearheaded by four students from Nanyang Technological University.
By Yvonne Chee