In the hectic mornings before school, it can be hard to get your children to eat a nutritious breakfast or even anything at all. However, research consistently shows that children who eat breakfast enjoy very positive effects on academic performance, such as enhanced concentration, greater motivation, higher test scores and fewer behavioral issues. Take the time to give your children a healthful breakfast and enjoy better grades and happier students.
Fruit And Vegetables
The vitamins and nutrients contained in many fruits and vegetables contribute to a stronger immune system, which can mean fewer days of school missed because of illness and therefore better grades. If your child balks at eating fruit and veggies for breakfast, let him pick a few fruits and make them into a smoothie. You can also buy ready-made fruit smoothies for kids. Make fruit fun for a young child with cookie cutters and unusual shapes. If you're lucky enough to have a child who will try veggies in the morning, let him complement them with a creamy dressing or tasty homemade dip, such as guacamole or fat-free sour cream with chives and onions.
Protein helps kids grow and build muscle in the most crucial years of growth. It also breaks down more slowly, keeping kids full longer and staving off the hunger pangs that can cause distraction and poor concentration during class. One egg contains plenty of morning protein to keep your child going until lunchtime. Make a smiley face with the yolk for young children; for older kids, try an egg white omelet filled with low-fat cheese and as many veggies as she likes or an egg frittata (use a muffin pan). Add extra flavor to any of your kid's favorite egg dishes my mixing in some ranch seasoning. If your child doesn't like eggs, try bacon: one protein-packed strip contains only about 80 calories.
You probably know that calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones, but the other dairy pluses -- such as vitamin D -- can help boost metabolism, lower your child's risk of obesity and keep his blood pressure down long term. At school, this translates into better choices in the cafeteria, more energy during recess and better focus in the classroom. Go with a tasty but low-sugar cereal with 2 percent milk (sprinkle cinnamon on top for a sweet finish), strips of melted part-skim mozzarella on toast or a cup of flavored yogurt. Stay away from full-fat cheese, artificial cheese spreads or sugary ice cream "breakfast" products, which contain unnecessary fat and calories that can leave your child feeling sluggish.
Don't shy away from bread just because it contains carbohydrates; your child will feel weak and listless without their powerful ability to energize. Stick to whole-grain breads, which are broken down more slowly than simple carbohydrates (such as plain white bread and potatoes). Find a tasty, healthy-fat-filled olive oil spread for your child's toast and complement it with a sugar-free, real-fruit jelly or jam. Or, slip a fried egg white between the halves of a whole wheat English muffin. Turn breakfast into a little fiesta with whole wheat tortillas, scrambled eggs seasoned with taco or ranch seasoning, shredded low-fat Jack cheese and chopped tomatoes.
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