When we were kids, we would always hear our parents tell us to “Eat your breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day!”
But how often did that oh-so-important breakfast wind up being a bowl of sugar-laden cereal or a pop-tart?
Finding the time to feed your preschooler a balanced healthy breakfast can be quite the challenge — we get it! But kids need their breakfast to prepare them for the day of fun and learning ahead. This is why at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool® every student is provided a yummy and nutrient dense breakfast, prepared by our on-site chef each morning.
So Why Is Breakfast for Kids So Important?
Most people go a maximum of about 6 hours in-between full meals, and often we will snack during these times as well. Since your child is sleeping anywhere from 8-12 hours a night, that is 8-12 hours without eating.
A healthy breakfast acts as your child’s fuel, giving them a bank of calories to use during the morning. On average preschoolers engaged in active play burn around 118 – 172 calories per hour. They even burn calories when they are sleeping, at a rate of 13-19 calories per hour. When your child’s calorie bank starts running low, they will become lethargic and fatigued.
Kids who do not eat a daily breakfast are more likely to:
- Lose focus during school.
- Experience fatigue and burnout.
- Not participate in physical activities, like playing on the playground.
- Experience difficulty maintaining a healthy weight and become overweight.
Kids who do eat a daily breakfast are more likely to:
- Be alert and receptive during school.
- Have a healthy amount of energy.
- Work off their energy by playing and participating in physical activities.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Easy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
For the days that your child isn’t in school, maintaining their routine is essential.
We understand that providing your child with a nutrient-rich breakfast on the daily can feel overwhelming and a bit intimidating. You might have visions of slaving away on homemade whole-wheat waffles topped with fresh fruit, eggs, and a healthy sausage each morning. While it can be fun to make a big breakfast for your family on occasion, it is most likely not sustainable for your everyday life.
What matters most is that your child (and you!) are getting the nutrients they need. Here are some tips for fitting in a healthy breakfast for your child each day.
Focus on the Essential Nutrients
Good nutrition is vital to the success of your child’s day and directly impacts how much they will learn and grow.
- Healthy Carbs give your child instant energy.
- Proteins provide a backup energy source after the energy of the carbs have been depleted.
- Fiber provides a feeling of fullness which discourages overeating.
Simple Is Better
During a rushed morning, it can be so easy to hand your child a breakfast bar or a pop-tart, but a quick look at the ingredients list will tell you that feeding your child these items consistently does more harm than good. Although these items are filled to the max with carbohydrates, they are also filled with sugar and lack protein or fiber. This causes a sugar rush and imminent energy drop. This is no fun for your child, their teacher or you.
If the ingredients label contains many really long words you can’t pronounce, chances are it isn’t a good choice for your child’s breakfast. Many pre-packaged breakfast items contain the full amount of sugar a child needs in a whole day and are loaded with sodium and high fructose corn syrup.
On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas
Here are some ideas that will make it easier to provide your child with a nutrient-rich and yummy breakfast, even during hectic mornings.
- Use your freezer. Your freezer brings a world of on-the-go breakfast options to life, with just a little prep! Make some easy freezer breakfast burritos your kids are sure to love, and also provide them with their essential nutrients.
- Fruit is your friend. Take some time the night before and cut up some fresh fruit. This way, you can grab & go in the morning and mix with some yogurt.
- Ants on a Log. If you have a banana, some nut butter, and dried berries, you are good to go! This take on an old classic makes a quick and healthy breakfast.
Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® is dedicated to providing your child with the healthy and delicious breakfast they need in order to get the most out of their day. To learn more about nutrition at Little Sunshine’s® contact a location near you!
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