We’ve all heard the line, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, eight to 12 percent of school-age kids skip breakfast. This number more than doubles to 20 to 30 percent by the time kids reach adolescence.
Breakfast is important because it refuels the body. Eating breakfast can also lead to overall better health in kids vs. peers who routinely skip the meal. Studies have found that kids that eat breakfast have a lower body mass index and their diets include less saturated fat. Eating breakfast is also linked to better school performance, most likely because kids who eat breakfast have more energy and can concentrate better.
One of the most common reasons to skip breakfast I hear from kids is, “I’m not hungry.” So, what if your kids refuse to eat breakfast? Try these tips to get the whole family into a breakfast routine:
- Get kids involved. Ask your children what healthy breakfast items they prefer, then make sure to have their favorites handy.
- Wake up earlier. Setting the alarm to ring 10 minutes earlier can provide time to squeeze in a quick breakfast. Preparing the night before will also save time in the morning.
- Start small. If your family does not usually eat anything in the morning, it may take a while to develop the habit. Starting with a mini meal can make the transition easier. Try a small serving of yogurt topped with low-fat granola or a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.
- Be a role model. Kids mimic parents’ behavior. Make it a point to sit down and enjoy breakfast with your children every day.
- Have some quick grab-and-go options ready such as granola bars, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt or fruit so kids can take them with them when they leave for school.
For more kids-specific health information, visit kids.mountnittany.org.