Starting the school day off right — with a healthy breakfast

When school is in session, mornings are hectic (and that’s putting it mildly). Getting everyone ready and out of the house on time is a major feat.

And many mornings you probably feel like you don’t even have time to tie your shoes, much less make a healthy breakfast.

But here’s why it’s important to make time: One of the best ways to start your day off right is to eat breakfast. Really. Eating breakfast is especially important for children.

Did you know that school-age children do better in school when they’ve eaten within two hours of waking up? Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are better able to focus and concentrate in school. Breakfast also provides necessary calories and nutrients for children’s growth and good health.

fruit bowlAdults who eat breakfast do better at work too. We can think more clearly and make better decisions when we’ve had breakfast.

Breakfast also helps us maintain a healthy weight. Did you know that skipping breakfast can cause us to eat more calories during the day? So why do so many of us not eat breakfast? Usually because we think we don’t have time in the morning.

Making breakfast a priority doesn’t mean rolling out of bed to cook a three-course meal.

Why not try waking up a few minutes earlier so the whole family has time to eat something? Breakfast can be simple and light; cold cereal with fruit is a great way to start the day. Or try a blended smoothie with fruits, yogurt and nuts. It’s delicious and you can eat it on the run.

You can also see what your child’s school offers. Many schools serve breakfast. Inquire what time breakfast is served and see whether you can get there on time.

If your child doesn’t feel like eating before school, pack a healthy snack that can be eaten during recess. Having enough energy for a growing body and brain will help your child be successful in school.

Looking for healthy breakfast ideas? Check out this list:

Breakfast: Ready, Set, Go!

juliezee

Julia Zee, MPH, RDN, is an extension educator in Nutrition and Health for the University of Hawaii’s Cooperative Extension Service. One of the projects she works on — Nutrition Education for Wellness — offers programs and training statewide in consumer foods and nutrition education. NEW promotes healthy food choices, skills building, and access to a healthy diet.

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