Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breakfast and School Performance

A very important component of your child’s school success is breakfast. In the morning, energy levels are low and need to be kick-started. Healthy breakfast foods help replenish these energy levels and provide nutrients, like calcium and iron, that often are low in children’s diets.

Eating breakfast increases cognitive performance in children, especially tasks that involve processing complex thoughts. Other benefits of breakfast include the increased ability to concentrate, stay alert, solve problems, and memorize. Some studies have linked a good breakfast to better moods and improved performance on tests.

A healthy breakfast should consists of whole-grain bread or cereal combined with a calcium and protein source, such as low fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese. A piece of fresh fruit is a good way to round out the meal.

Consider the atmosphere in which your children eat their breakfast, too. Do they have enough time to sit and eat what you or they have prepared or do they feel rushed? Planning enough time for a sit down breakfast is a great way to start the day at a low stress level.

It may take some planning ahead to make a healthy breakfast part of your child’s morning routine, but it can yield benefits related to academic performance as well as nutritional status and health. And that is certainly worth the effort.

Hillsborough County school children are provided a free breakfast, so if your morning routine just doesn’t allow breakfast at home, be sure your child gets to school in time for breakfast in the cafeteria.

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