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You’ve heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but if you’re rushing to get your kids awake, dressed, and out the door in the morning, breakfast can often take a backseat.
As it turns out, you’re not alone.
According to an August 2017 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, only 31 percent of kids eat breakfast daily, 17 percent never eat breakfast and the remaining eat breakfast only on some days of the week.
Yet kids who eat breakfast everyday have a higher daily consumption of key nutrients such as folate, calcium, iron and iodine than those who skip breakfast, the same study found.
A healthy breakfast shouldn’t be optional or an afterthought. Here are reasons why your kids need to eat a healthy breakfast every day.
1. Eating a healthy breakfast supports kids’ growth and development
If your kids skip breakfast, they miss a significant opportunity each day to get the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.
Considering most kids don’t get the recommended amounts of nutrition anyway from fruits and vegetables, making breakfast a priority is vital for their health.
2. Eating a healthy breakfast helps kids’ mood and behavior
You know the feeling when you’re hangry: you’re tired, irritable and on edge.
And your kids are no different.
When kids skip breakfast, their energy and blood sugar dips, which affects their mood and behavior.
If your kids are snappy with you, have frequent meltdowns or seem cranky, try feeding them a healthy breakfast.
3. Kids who eat a healthy breakfast (even 2 breakfasts!) are less likely to be overweight
According to a March 2016 study in the journal Pediatric Obesity, kids who ate breakfast at school, even if they already had breakfast at home, were less likely to be overweight or obese than those who didn’t eat breakfast.
Although I don’t think we should encourage our children to eat two breakfasts, eating even a small, healthy breakfast can go a long way in preventing weight gain and childhood obesity.
4. Eating a healthy breakfast may prevent type-2 diabetes.
According to a September 2014 study in the journal PLOS Medicine, 9 and 10-year-old children who reported regularly skipping breakfast had 26 percent higher levels of insulin in their blood after a fasting period and 26 percent higher levels of insulin resistance, a risk factor for type-2 diabetes, than children who ate breakfast every day.
A healthy breakfast, one that has a balance of protein and fiber, will balance your child’s blood sugar and give him a steady amount of energy until lunchtime.
5. Kids who eat a healthy breakfast function better in school
Kids need to eat a healthy breakfast because it’s nearly impossible to stay focused and concentrate on anything when you’re hungry.
Breakfast fuels their bodies with the key nutrients they need to listen, learn, understand, complete tasks and boost their overall function at school.
In fact, a June 2016 study in the journal Public Health Nutrition, which included 5,000 kids, found those who ate breakfast and those who ate a better quality breakfast, were twice as likely to do better in school than those who didn’t.