Mornings are a busy time. Everyone is trying to get out the door and it can be easy to let a wholesome breakfast fall to the wayside. I’m sure that your own parents told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now that you’re a parent, do you find that breakfast carries the same weight in your home?
It is less common today to eat breakfast together as a family1 but a healthy breakfast is probably the easiest meal to serve in a rush. Setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier will allow adequate time to eat something nourishing before you leave the house. Need more convincing?
Some of the benefits of eating breakfast as a family.
- Breakfast sets the tone for the day. Sitting down to a good breakfast encourages kids to take time for self-care and healthy eating. If kids aren’t sitting down to breakfast daily, it will be far less likely that they do so as teenagers.
- Kids who eat breakfast will be more alert and on-task in school. Children’s brains have a higher metabolism of glucose, a sugar found in carbohydrate foods such as whole grains and fruit, two key components of a breakfast meal2. The majority of research comparing kids who eat breakfast with kids who don’t, show that breakfast improves cognitive ability, both post-meal and long term2.
- When you skip a whole meal, or make a less nutritious fast food choice, it is more difficult to obtain all of the nourishment your children need throughout their day. Kids who eat a family breakfast appear to have better intakes of fruit and fibre2.
- It may not be intuitive, but some research suggests that skipping breakfast habitually is associated with increased weight in adolescents1,2.
Ready to do this? It’s really easy…it just takes a little forethought. WAY less than the daily dinner dilemma!
How to make a healthy breakfast a reality in your home.
- Build a repertoire of easy, healthy choices. Post them on the fridge as a reminder. Kids can lose interest in a staple seemingly overnight so having a mini-arsenal of choices will help you cope. Have three or four go-to picks, such as a smoothie, cereal, parfait, sandwich or a muffin (which you can make ahead and freeze) to lean on.
- Keep it balanced. Grain foods such as cereal provide fiber and carbohydrates for energy. Look to add healthy fats from nuts, nut butters and seeds for lasting energy. Proteins from yogurt, milk, soymilk or hemp seeds fuel growing bodies and keep energy levels balanced. In addition, try to always serve a fresh fruit or vegetable. Add fresh or frozen berries to cereal; blend leftover steamed beets or carrots into smoothies and muffins or cook overripe fruit into low sugar compotes than can be layered on parfaits.
- Get creative with delivery to avoid scrambling for new recipes. Are smoothies no longer appealing? Turn it into a smoothie bowl by adding less liquid and topping with some cereal and chopped nuts for crunch. Need a cereal fix? Layer with yogurt and chopped fruit for a gorgeous parfait your kids can mix up.
- Mornings extremely busy? Prep breakfast at night.
– Put smoothie ingredients (minus liquid) in blender top and place in fridge. Next morning, add liquid, blend and go.
– Set out cereal, hemp seeds, fruit, bowls and spoons before bed. Just add milk and eat!
– Thaw pre-prepped and frozen muffins overnight in the fridge. In the morning, smother in nut butter and munch with a piece of fruit.
Building a better breakfast is easy, once you make it a part of your routine. Get a healthy, organic start to your day that will keep your family energized and alert all morning long.
- Larson, Nicole, et al. “Eating breakfast and dinner together as a family: Associations with sociodemographic characteristics and implications for diet quality and weight status.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 113.12 (2013): 1601-1609.
- Adolphus, Katie, Clare L. Lawton, and Louise Dye. “The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents.” Frontiers in human neuroscience 7 (2013).