Before you send your kids off to school, there may be something they’re missing. Studies show that school children skip breakfast more than any other meal of the day. That means some kids can go up to 15 hours or more without eating any food. Not only does skipping breakfast leave their stomachs growling, it can also negatively impact their ability to learn.
Kids who fuel up in the morning are better able to focus and concentrate in the classroom and also perform better on math, reading and standardized tests. They also have fewer behavior problems and are less likely to be tardy.
If getting your family to eat breakfast is a challenge try these simple suggestions:
• Eliminate late night snacking. Many kids aren’t hungry for breakfast because they snack at night. Tell your kids the kitchen is closed after dinner and you’ll be surprised how much hungrier they are in the morning.
• Prep the night before. Getting breakfast on the table is tricky for most busy families. Prepping for breakfast the night before can make your morning a little smoother. Put out a few boxes of whole-grain cereal for kids to choose from with a bowl, and in the morning all they’ll have to do is pour and add milk.
• Start small. If your family isn’t used to eating first thing in the morning, it may take a while to develop the habit. Starting with a mini meal of yogurt topped with low-fat granola or a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter can make the transition easier.
• Dress first, eat second. Most kids aren’t hungry when they first wale up. Give them a chance to wake up, then they’ll be more likely to feel hungry.
• Make sure you’re well stocked. Short on time? No problem. Quick-fix foods like whole-grain cereal, string cheese, fruit, yogurt, whole-wheat toast and peanut butter, mini bagels and English muffins make grabbing breakfast a cinch.
• Be a good role model. Kids mimic their parent’s behavior. So try to eat breakfast with your kids every morning.