HCA Midwest Health - August 01, 2018

How many times have you heard "breakfast is the most important meal of the day"? Here's why, in terms of small fry. Kids who eat breakfast:

  • Do better in school
  • Have fewer behavioral problems
  • Have better concentration, more energy and better hand-eye coordination
  • Are more likely to meet their nutritional needs overall
  • Have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight

Mornings can be hectic in any family, and getting kids -- much less adults -- to eat something can be a challenge. But just look at the payoffs!

If you can't make the morning meal happen at home, send kids off with healthy on-the-go breakfasts to eat on the way. The night before, have them help you fill plastic zipper bags with things like nuts, raisins, and Os cereal; orange slices; low-fat granola; cheese and crackers; sliced apple 'sandwich cookies' filled with peanut butter... or anything else reasonably healthy that you know they'll eat, whether it's 'breakfast food' or not.

Just aim for three things:

Fiber & Protein

Plenty of fiber and protein will keep kids full and energized until lunch. Try some oatmeal with fruit and nuts on top for a yummy mix of both.

Minimal Sugar

Too much sugar can send energy soaring up, and then crashing down, before the morning’s half over. A good reason to pick up a wholewheat bagel instead of a donut.

Omega-3s

Turns out that kids who eat more healthful fats, especially omega-3s, do better on short-term memory tests than kids who eat more saturated fat.

How to Get Good Omega-3 Fats

Sprinkle walnuts or almonds on cereal. Or hard-boil a batch of omega-3-enriched eggs. On a high-speed morning, give the kids (yourself, too) an egg and some whole-wheat crackers in a plastic zipper bag. You’ll all be good to go till lunch.

There’s Nothing Old-Fashioned About Oatmeal

In fact, there's growing evidence that it may be an ideal way to start the school day. Kids who eat oatmeal for breakfast -- versus cold cereal, or nothing at all -- remember things better and pay more attention, which is handy for, say, studying math and geography. Try making it overnight in a slow cooker. One reason may be that oatmeal is digested slowly, supplying the brain with a steady stream of energy.

This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.

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