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Rise and dine

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Kristin Johnson, Pediatric Registered Dietitian

Nearly 30 percent of kids regularly skip breakfast. When it comes to school, eating a healthy breakfast is just as important as gym shoes and sharp pencils.

Breakfast impacts:

  • Memory
  • Test scores
  • Attention span
  • Healthy body weights
  • Overall nutrition

Getting kids off to school on time is a challenge. Here are some tips to make breakfast easier:

  • Schedule accordingly. Carve out enough time to allow your child to eat without pressure.
  • Plan ahead. Have hard-boiled eggs on hand. Dish out your child’s favorite cold cereal the night before.
  • Grab and go. Prepare and prepackage favorites such as sliced apples, homemade muffins or a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter.
  • Make sure sleep is on the menu. Sleep has proven itself to be a crucial ingredient in children’s overall health.
  • Think outside of the cereal box. Consider protein, fruits and vegetables that aren’t traditional breakfast foods. Peanut butter on your whole wheat toast or fruit, eggs or meats, and yogurt or milk supply more energy to help kids focus until lunch.
  • Make wise choices. While eating any breakfast is better than skipping it altogether, some choices are better than others.
  • Watch the sugar. Beware of sugar content of breakfast items as well, as breakfast may consist of the highest sugar intake of the day!
  • Check your options. Does your child’s school or child care provider offer breakfast? Your child may well be more receptive to eating breakfast with his/her friends.