Breakfast is a key moment on which the nutritional balance of the whole day depends, especially for children and teens. Because they are such growing individuals, babies need far more energy and nutrients than any adult. This is not only to carry out all daily activities, but also to build new cells and new tissues.
For this reason, children and adolescents need more than ever before to a complete, healthy, balanced and varied diet, which is distributed over three daily meals, i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to one or two snacks between meals. Italian food newspaper il giornale del cibo asked nutrition biologist Dr. Francesca Evangelisti to tell them what is the best healthy breakfast for young children. The following is what was reported about it.
Kids breakfast: why shouldn’t you skip this meal?
We have seen how a healthy and balanced breakfast is a healthy habit we should never forget. This also applies to children. In fact, those who do not eat breakfast or de facto eat very little compared to their peers, will experience the first part of the day without adequate energy, which impairs both physical and mental abilities.
The doctor affirms: “This means less focus, difficulty keeping up with the pace of the school day, little attention during lessons and efforts to memorize while studying, which add to it weakness, fatigue, headache and sleepiness. In addition, a child who does not eat breakfast or eat little will appear distracted and anxious, and will have less resistance to physical activities and sports. ”
Even from a children’s health standpoint, skipping breakfast is not a good thing. Not having breakfast or a poor breakfast will make the child feel hungry very soon, causing him to eat more at later meals, and perhaps eat high-calorie snacks. For this, a children’s breakfast is also beneficial to avoid a vicious cycle.
The nutritionist explains: “Not eating breakfast or not eating enough will lead to excessive hunger in subsequent meals, especially dinner, which will create problems in the digestive system during the night (in severe cases, the child will suffer from insomnia and difficulty breathing), as well as On the lack of appetite the next morning, this is a constant disruption of eating habits.
Parents often do not eat breakfast and as a result children think breakfast is not necessary.
A healthy breakfast for children is a matter of organization
The only solution in these cases is to review family habits. “Children’s breakfast is an essential habit that must be stimulated, as is the importance of eating the right foods.” That is why the organizational aspect must play its part, in order to create an enjoyable and engaging moment; “It would be useful to prepare breakfast the evening before, paying attention to the practical side, then set the table and put the child’s bag and ready-made clothes, so that he has the right time to eat breakfast.”
Not only that, the nutritionist stresses the importance of the child going to bed early and finishing homework, in fact “there are many children who do not eat breakfast because they have to finish their homework.”
“A well-organized family allows you to wake up on time, and during breakfast, set aside the right time to eat (at least 10 minutes).” Another good rule is to make breakfast with the whole family, without watching TV or doing anything else, in order to create a moment of fun that will make the child want to eat breakfast.
All that remains is to understand with a nutritionist what the ingredients for a healthy breakfast for children are.
Children’s healthy breakfast – what to eat?
Children who normally consume a rich and nutritious breakfast will have better intellectual performance in terms of academic performance, memory, focus and learning, they will be in a good mood and will have more physical strength. And of course, “They will consume a balanced and unlimited meals during the rest of the day, as a result of a good digestion process in the evening. All this, of course, has a high protective value against obesity and related diseases. ”
“From a nutritional point of view, it is very necessary that a healthy breakfast for children includes fats and proteins, which are present for example in milk or yogurt, and complex carbohydrates such as bread, biscuits and whole grains, and preferably in cereals fortified with vitamins and minerals, and fiber found in fruits.”
Milk is the most important food especially at breakfast for children, not only as an excellent source of protein, but also as an ideal source of calcium. This calcium will be deposited in the bones, and it will form a deposit that will last for life. As one gets older, it is no longer possible to increase calcium in the bones, but only to preserve it.
As for the type of milk, it should be noted that for children it is not necessary to use skimmed milk, which certainly has the advantage of having a small number of fats, but at the same time it has a very low nutritional value.
“During the growth phase, whole milk can be used safely (except for certain weight problems), and so that children do not get tired of drinking a regular cup of milk in the morning, the nutritionist suggests that“ a little cocoa is added to the milk, as long as it is pure bitter.
Another important aspect of children’s health is the reference to no sweetener, which raises blood sugar: “It’s just a habit.”
Cereals and snacks
As for complex carbohydrates, it can differ between different types of grains, such as bread, biscuits, etc. Alternatively, you can use homemade pies and cakes made with little sugar and whole wheat flour, and use oil instead of butter.
“Can be eaten snacks much loved by children, to suit a small breakfast, but only occasionally and choose those that contain less fat (especially hydrogenated fats) and added sugars and food additives.”
Fruit and chocolate
Finally, the fruit, which should always be a part of a children’s breakfast. Since they are not much appreciated, they can be given in the form of fruit skewers, which are quick to prepare, or the fruit is simply cut into small pieces and served in a cup, which will definitely facilitate consumption.
The fruit can also be used to prepare juices. Finally, dark chocolate can sometimes be a part of a kids’ breakfast; “It is, in fact, a food with a high energy content, thus it is able to give a good charge at the beginning of the day.”
Examples of a healthy breakfast for children
To benefit from the nutritionist’s advice, he asked her for some practical examples of the perfect breakfast, and in the interview she suggested 4 examples of a healthy breakfast for children to experience every day:
- 1 cup of tea with 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey, 1 cup of whole yogurt, 1 slice of homemade tartar or donut, 1 serving of fresh fruit (200 g).
- 1 cup of whole or semi-skimmed milk without sugar, 4-5 biscuits with wholemeal flour, 1 serving of fresh fruit (200g).
- A cup of whole or half-fat milk without sugar, two whole biscuits with jam (preferably without sugar), a serving of fresh fruit (200 g)
- Toast + 1 cup of fresh fruit juice (200 ml).
With these tips we can’t do wrong. We must not forget the aspect of coexistence, because breakfast should be a family moment where one can talk and listen to each other.