You do everything you can to help your child succeed in school: buy the books, make sure he has pens and paper, supervise homework, volunteer in the classroom. But do you make sure your child eats breakfast before school?
Breakfast = Success
Research has clearly shown that children who consistently eat breakfast test higher in most academic areas. An article in the September 1998 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine showed significantly higher math test scores after children ate breakfast. Schools often recommend breakfast before important tests, but why not ensure that your child will perform well every day?
Breakfast = Better Behavior In addition to academic success, children who eat breakfast also:
- Have a more positive attitude
- Show a "can-do" frame of mind
- Are sick or absent less often
- Misbehave less often
Children who come to school ready to learn can better focus their attention. Instead of thinking about their rumbling stomachs, children who eat breakfast can focus on classroom activities.
What parents can do:
Here's what you can do to make sure your child is well prepared for each school day:
- Eat breakfast yourself, and not just a cup of coffee as you run out the door. Take 10 minutes to eat breakfast with your children -- you'll feel better, too.
- Include cereal or other whole grains such as toast, bagels, English muffins or pancakes for a long-lasting source of energy. Choose whole grains (the first ingredient on the nutrition label should include the word "whole" whenever possible) such as whole-wheat toast, whole-grain bagels or cereals such as Cheerios (made from whole oats).
- Offer low-fat milk or yogurt for a source of protein as well as needed calcium and other nutrients.
- Include fruit in the breakfast meal, as either juice (look for 100 percent juice for a more nutritious product) or fresh fruit. Slice a banana on cereal or toast spread with peanut butter, add fruit to yogurt, or top pancakes with berries.
- If all else fails, try a lightning-fast smoothie: blend low-fat milk or yogurt with fruit, and in less than a minute you have a liquid breakfast.