Back to school season can be a struggle for many parents. Trying to make sure that our kids get healthy meals and snacks throughout the day can seem almost overwhelming. Why is it so important? Well, what our kids are taking into their bodies has a direct effect on their school performance. Studies show that kids who eat a balanced breakfast have higher test scores and can concentrate better and solve problems more easily in class. They can also have fewer behavioral problems. A hungry child can be a cranky child. So, what can we do to make sure our kids are getting what they need?
For starters, avoid feeding kids a breakfast low in fiber and protein, like sugary toaster pastries, sugar laden cereals, etc. I know these are easy to fix but it doesn’t do the body any good. These can lead to a midmorning energy crash. This happens when the carbs are digested and absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar levels to dive after a spike. Kids can also get headaches and cranky. Make sure you provide your children with a high-protein, high-fiber meal like eggs with whole wheat toast. This kind of meal digests more slowly, preventing hunger and keeping blood sugar levels even. This goes for adults as well. I can always tell when I’ve eaten a breakfast too high in carbs. I’m crashing by midmorning. Not a pretty site.
Here are some true but sad facts:
- American children ages 2-18 are eating 40% of their daily calories from “empty calories,” like
sugar sweetened beverages and desserts.
- 92% of girls ages 9-18 do not get enough calcium from what they eat and drink.
- 75% of children 6-19 do not eat enough fruit every day.
- Only 13.8% of high school students eat enough vegetables every day.
- 65% of high school students skipped breakfast at least one day a week.
We as parents can make some simple changes to ensure that our kids are getting the nutrients they need to succeed in school. When you plan your weekly meal plan, go ahead and include plans for breakfast, lunches and snacks. It doesn’t take much longer and you’ll know have a game plan. If you need help, there are online menu planning services that can help you plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Tell us some of your favorite healthy breakfast, lunch or snack ideas you make for your kids. We’d love to hear about them!