Whether you are young or old, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The food eaten upon waking is used to refuel the body after a night of sleep and sets the stage for the rest of the day.

7 reasons why your kids need a healthy breakfast

Research shows that kids who eat a healthy breakfast:

  1. Are more likely to eat healthier.
  2. Are more likely to consume fewer calories throughout the day.
  3. Are more likely to be at a healthier weight.
  4. Are more likely to participate in physical activity.
  5. Are less likely to feel tired and irritable.
  6. May have better attention spans, as well as improved memory and concentration.
  7. May have improved overall academic performance and success in school.

Making Healthy Choices

While eating breakfast is important, it’s equally important that you encourage kids to make nutritious food choices. Don’t just let them grab a bowl of sugary cereal or a doughnut on their way out the door. Better healthy breakfast options include a mix of protein, healthy fat and fiber with little to no added sugar.

High-protein breakfasts may be especially helpful in fighting the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. A study done at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that eating eggs in the morning kept kids feeling fuller throughout the morning and resulted in kids consuming fewer calories at lunch time.

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Kid-friendly Breakfast Ideas

Here are some kid-friendly healthy breakfast ideas that can be eaten quickly before leaving the house or even on-the-go:

  • Egg muffins – Cook up a batch of muffins made from eggs mixed with chopped ham, turkey bacon, low fat cheese or veggies. They can be left in the fridge or freezer and then heated in the microwave.
  • Nut butter and fruit sandwiches – Grab some whole-grain bread and coat with natural peanut or almond butter. Then top with sliced bananas, apples or strawberries.
  • Fruit smoothies – Combine Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit and ice in a blender. If the smoothie is too thick, add some milk.
  • Breakfast tacos – Spread low-fat cheese and salsa on a whole-wheat tortilla. If your child likes beans, include some mashed beans for added protein. Fold in half and microwave.

“A favorite quick breakfast in our home is overnight oats. You can assemble them in advance, at the start of the week, and customize each jar to everybody’s preference.

Use wide mouth mason jars and fill with a half cup of rolled oats. Fill with milk or a milk alternative like almond milk to just where the oats are wet (about 4 oz.) Top with chia, flax, or hemp seeds and anything else you like that adds flavor, like cinnamon or a dash of maple syrup. Fill the remainder of the jar with frozen or fresh fruit-we like a mix of frozen berries that includes cherries. Seal the jars and place in the fridge. In the morning a quick zap in the microwave will warm it up to be ready to eat, although we like to eat ours cold!

Other flavor combinations to consider: peanut butter and banana or pumpkin pie (add some canned pumpkin and nutmeg), or trying a bit of greek-style yogurt in a flavor you like. The combinations are endless, and kids will love creating them, assembly-line style.”

Theresa Jackson RD, CSOWM, CDN

Clinical Nutrition Manager, Kenmore Mercy Hospital

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Date Last Reviewed: July 10, 2017

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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