Hunger hinders school performance
HOUSTON--Making sure children eat breakfast might help them perform
better in school.
"Children who eat breakfast have been shown to get higher grades
and are less likely to be described as depressed, anxious, fidgety,
or irritable by parents and teachers," says Dr. Debby Demory-Luce,
a registered dietitian with the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research
Center. They also think faster and more clearly, concentrate
better, suffer less fatigue, and are less likely to end up in the
nurse's office complaining of tummy aches and dizziness.
Breakfast should provide one-fourth to one-third of the day's energy
and nutrient needs. A balanced breakfast should provide some
protein, fat and carbohydrate, as well as important nutrients that
kids often miss, such as fiber, vitamin C, folate, iron and calcium.
Breakfast doesn't have to be boring or time-consuming to be nutritious,
Demory-Luce says. Even a slice of cold pizza and a glass of
100 percent fruit juice, a carton of low-fat yogurt and an orange,
or a slice of toast with peanut butter and a glass of low-fat milk
provide much of the protein, vitamins, minerals, and energy that
school children need. She also suggests that busy parents
check to see whether their children's schools offers a breakfast
Even the most hectic households can find time for breakfast.
In some cases it might mean making sure children's school papers
and clothes are organized the night before. Or, it might require
waking the family a bit earlier. But, when you consider the
benefits of a healthy breakfast on children's learning potential
and life-long healthy eating habits, it's well worth the effort.
"Eating breakfast needs to be as much of a priority for school
children as doing their homework," she said.
Quick and easy breakfast ideas:
- Blender-quick fruit smoothies made with yogurt and fresh or
- Cheese and crackers or melted cheese on whole-grain toast with
- Low-fat yogurt with added fruit and low-fat granola cereal topping
- Instant breakfast mixed with low-fat milk and fresh fruit
- Fortified cereal with low-fat milk and 100% citrus juice
- Peanut butter rolled inside a tortilla with 100% fruit juice
- Cold slice of pizza with low-fat milk
- Left-over macaroni and cheese and 100% fruit juice
- Low-fat waffle, sliced fruit and low-fat milk
Convenience foods such as toaster pastries, breakfast burritos
and other frozen entrees is fine on occasions. However, many
of these foods contain high levels of sugar, sodium and fat, and
low in other nutrients. Read labels carefully to select breakfast
foods that contribute to a nourishing breakfast.
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