Wake up to Breakfast
Breakfast is an important start to the day. Making sure children have had breakfast each morning will give them energy to help them concentrate at school and improve behaviour. Breakfast can help improve mood, reduce stress and make us feel happier too. It helps us to reach and maintain a healthy weight too.
Our bodies can get important vitamins and minerals from eating breakfast, including;
- Calcium to build strong bones and teeth
- Iron to make red blood cells, which take oxygen around the body
Eating breakfast together as a family can encourage children to adopt the habit. It’s also a really good start to the day for everyone! Try to eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking up.
Healthy breakfast choices
Cereal is a popular breakfast choice. Healthy breakfast cereals include plain wheat biscuits, shredded wheat and porridge. These cereals are low in sugar, fat and salt. They are also high in fibre, which helps to keep us feeling full for longer compared to foods low in fibre.
Watch out though! Many breakfast cereals contain a lot of sugar which makes them unhealthy choices to eat everyday. Check out our blog on food labels. The first time you buy a new cereal learn to read the food label to check it is low in sugar, fat and salt. When you’ve found a healthy cereal you won’t need to keep checking the label until you change to a different cereal.
Children (and adults) do not need to add sugar to cereal. Instead, to make breakfast sweeter, experiment with adding different fruits. With so many fruits to choose from breakfast never needs to be boring or the same. You can add fresh, frozen, tinned (in fruit juice not syrup) or dried fruit. For example; banana, raisins, strawberries, blueberries, prunes and many, many more!
Serve cereal with low fat yoghurt, skimmed, 1% or semi-skimmed milk (children over 5 years). This is a good source of calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
Breakfast isn’t just about cereal. Bread is another healthy choice. Wholemeal bread has more fibre than white bread to keep you feeling full for longer. This could be made in to a sandwich with meat, fish or cheese fillings. Or toasted and served with baked beans or an egg - scrambled, poached, dippy or hard boiled. Aim to add a piece of whole fruit or some vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms or lettuce as well.
Less healthy breakfasts
Be careful of some breakfast choices which are higher in sugar or fat. These foods give a short burst of energy but they may not keep children full until lunchtime or keep them focused on their work all morning. Regularly eating these foods can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Avoid cereals with lots of sugar. You may be surprised at which cereals are higher in sugar, try to read the food label to make a better choice. Most cereal bars also contain a lot of sugar. Croissants and other pastries are high in fat and should not be an everyday option. If a full English breakfast is fried or cooked in a lot of oil it will be less healthy. Instead grill sausages, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes and poach or scramble eggs.
Bold ideas for breakfast
For breakfast inspiration, recipes and tips visit;