We know you’re doing everything you can to fit in morning meals, but fast-paced schedules and picky eating preferences are most likely getting in the way of healthy eating habits for breakfast. So you and the kids get a good to start the day, here are some things you need to know.
Research has shown repeatedly that children who eat breakfast perform better in school, are better able to learn, and are better able to recall what they’ve learned. And what they eat may be equally important, too. One clever study compared the effect that different types of breakfast cereals had on brain function. Some children were given sugary, refined grain cereals, while other children were give whole grain cereals. It was clear that kids who ate whole grains did better on memory tasks. Whole grains are more nutritious and contain fiber which slows the absorption of sugar into the blood. This translates into a steadier flow of fuel to the brain, helping the mind to focus. Plus, stable blood sugar not only reduces the risk for diseases like diabetes, but also contributes to a stable mood. Stable mood means better attentiveness, less teacher complaints, and fewer trips to the principal’s office.
Other ways to encourage a steady flow of fuel for the brain is to include quality fat and protein at breakfast time. This can come from yogurt, eggs, and nuts and seeds in oatmeal or cereal. (Just keep in mind that nuts and seeds are choking hazards for kids younger than age 4.) You and your kids can also whip up refreshing smoothies with milk, berries, and yogurt. Try Greek yogurt, such as Fage, which has even more protein than regular yogurt. And you don’t always have to use fresh berries either. You can keep frozen fruit on hand, and feel good about it. Fairway sells Wyman’s bags of frozen berries, which are convenient and nutritious to use, because frozen fruit is flash frozen (i.e., the water in the fruit is frozen fast enough to maintain the integrity of the food) at the peak of ripeness to retain nutrients. Once you’re done blending that smoothie, pour it into a bottle, so your kid can sip it on the run to school.
For more grab-and-go options, make hard boiled eggs the night before, and store them in the fridge, so they’re ready on a busy morning. Or keep Horizon’s Tuberz yogurt on hand – no spoons needed. When shopping at Fairway, involve the kids. If there’s a bulk aisle, wander through with them, and make shopping fun for them by letting them fill containers with nuts or Fairway’s store-ground peanut butter. Or let the kids choose containers Fairway sells that are pre-filled with these favorite foods. What’s important is to make them a part of the process. So give them a choice – just let them choose between two healthy options.
What does your kid like to eat for breakfast? What do you make for morning meals?
EVENT ALERT: If you’re in the Stamford, CT, area on Saturday, Sept. 17, head to Fairway’s Stamford store at 699 Canal Street for our Back-to-School Smart Start event where there will be arts and crafts for kids from 10 a.m. to noon, and a Q&A session with Carlon Colker, MD, from 11 to noon. Product samples will be distributed, too. Note: This is the Aug. 27 event that was rescheduled.