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A Child's Breakfast

The most important meal of the day, breakfast is literally a breaking of an overnight fast. Breakfast should provide energy and nutrients. Rich sources of fibre or protein are the best choices for breakfast as they provide a feeling of being full or satiated. The most common children’s breakfasts are grain-based; cereals and bread. So long as these are wholegrain options and not sugary, nutrient poor items these are good breakfast choices. In some cases meats may be included in breakfasts; typically these are heavily processed meats, deli cuts, bacon, sausage etc which contain preservatives and other ingredients that are best not given to small children. However, there is no reason why a warm dish of meat and vegetables is not a good breakfast, so long as the portion size is appropriate. In fact, it is generally suggested that the breakfast and lunch meals should be the heavier, larger meals of the day, with a lighter dinner. Other options such as eggs (preferably not fried) and egg dishes also make nutritious breakfasts. Fruits are also a healthy option, and can make an excellent breakfast when mixed with cereal or blended with cereal into a smoothie. In general, cereal with milk, or toast with a spread is simply the fastest, easiest and most convenient mid-week breakfast. Many working families simply do not have the time to cook up a breakfast during the week.

Tips for nutritious children’s breakfasts:

  • Make sure cereals are whole wheat. Avoid sugary cereals which typically have little nutritional value and will leave a child hungry not long after the meal. Toast should also be wholegrain and not white. Good breakfast spreads include spreadable cheese and peanut butter. Honey is acceptable, but is high in simple sugars. If children like it, try offering it with peanut butter.
  • Avoid processed meats; they are typically high in salt, sugar and other preservatives and also in fat.
  • There is no reason why meat, warm vegetable or tofu dishes cant be served for breakfast if you have time. In western countries cereal has become the cultural norm for breakfast but in many countries other foods are eaten.
  • A smoothie of fruit blended with muesli and milk can make a great breakfast on the run.
  • Offer a fruit platter for children to choose items from.
  • Make interesting breakfasts, layered yoghurt, fruit and muesli, for example, or whole wheat pancakes with fresh berries.
  • Prepare the night before if you are able.
  • Try to make breakfast a main daily meal, along with lunch. Treat it as equally important as dinner.
  • Nutritious left-overs, like homemade pizza, can make good breakfasts if you are in a hurry.



Article by Staff of ACS Distance Education

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