Written by: Cally Worden
That old mantra about breakfast being the most important meal of the day has its roots in sound logic. Give your body the fuel it needs to run well and you can expect a smooth ride. For kids, this is doubly important. They are not just getting through each day, but learning, growing and stretching their minds at a rate that will never again be so demanding. So what are the best foods to serve up for our children each morning?
The humble egg is something of a power food. Not only is it rich in protein, it is also packed with the vitamin Choline – this nifty little number helps the body to produce more memory cells during childhood. If you don’t have time to do eggs in the morning, have a looked around the Internet for some fab pre-cook-and-freeze recipes. Egg muffins anyone?
Oatmeal and Oats
The slow release of energy from oats and oatmeal will set your children up to feel energized all day long. It is a great alternative to sugar-laced cereals that dominate the supermarket aisles. And if your child’s fibre-rich breakfast needs a little sweetening, try a drizzle of honey, or agave nectar instead of sugar.
From Blueberries to raspberries and every other berry known to man (well, the supermarket shelves anyway), berries are a top source of antioxidants. These do a great job throughout the body, but are particularly notable here for the way they help to reduce oxidative stress on the brain. Eat with cereals, mix with yoghurt, or simply encourage your kids to grab a handful on the way out of the door, to munch on the school run.
No, really. Hear me out. It may not typically be a favourite with kids but the vitamins E and K it contains, along with the folate, builds brain cells and helps maintain cognitive function. Surely this makes it worth the effort as a parent? Perhaps the easiest way to introduce it into your kids’ diet in the morning is in the form of a smoothie, sweetened with some fresh fruit.
Vitamin B, folate, and fibre are three very compelling reasons why wholewheat bread offers your kids a good start to the day. The fibre provides energy, when spread with a peanut butter topping; you add smart fats and protein too. Nice and easy this one, and a winner on busy mornings.
Milk-based yoghurt is another family favourite, it is very versatile as part of the morning diet. Uninspiring natural yoghurt can be sweetened with a light sprinkle of sugar. Other choices include low-sugar fruit yoghurts, or mixing jam into natural yoghurt. Just go easy on the sugar. Yoghurt is also great with cereal and fresh fruit. Why is it so good? Because yoghurt is a good source of protein, calcium and Tyrosine, an amino acid that is thought to improve memory and alertness.
It’s one of life’s essentials, ensuring our kids are hydrated is key to their good health and development. With more than 70% of our bodies made from this liquid gold, it’s easy to see why keeping the tank topped up is essential, not only to our survival, but our well being too. Ensuring they drink a big glass at breakfast is essential. We lose water during sleep, when we wake up it’s usually been a good 8-10 hours since we last had a drink. So set them up with a glass at breakfast every morning, encouraging them to drink as much as possible throughout the day.