A day in a child’s life is full of mental and physical activity, at school and at play. To ensure they’re at their fittest at all times you want to give their day a perfect start. Nutrition plays and important role in this. After a good night’s sleep your child needs a nutritious morning that gives them the energy to take on the rest of the day with zest! Here’s what your child needs for a healthy start.
Breakfast: Refuelling for the Day Ahead
Having breakfast enables us to stock up on the energy and liquid that we have lost during the night. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this period of semi-starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioural problems for them. A healthy, balanced breakfast is made up of four components.
- Cereals in the form of Bread, Breakfast cereals, or Porridge – Rich in carbohydrates and fibre, cereals provide energy for several hours. Cereals also are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Opt for wholegrain and multi-grain products like MAGGI VEGETABLE ATTA Noodles, MAGGI MULTIGRAINZ Noodles
- Fruit or Raw Vegetables – These supplement the cereal and contain important vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients
- Meat and Poultry: Eggs and lean meat like chicken breast are a rich in protein
- Milk and dairy products: Milk and milk products like yoghurt, cheese etc. are good sources of calcium and protein
- Juices – Fresh fruit juices are ideal for breakfast. They are hydrating and also provide essential vitamins that improve concentration and alertness
By mid-morning kids get hungry as all energy from the morning breakfast is burnt through physical activity. To stay fit and active, their bodies need a regular supply of energy. To ensure they do not fall short on energy and get all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements, make your child’s mid-morning snack as healthy as possible with foods like yoghurt, fruit and raw vegetables, wholemeal bread, etc.
Regardless of whether your child is used to eating a full or a light breakfast at home, a mid-morning snack is a must, especially for preschoolers. If the mid-morning snack is provided at the school itself, speak to teachers to find out what is served and if your child is eating well while at school.
Breakfast Fun for Kids
Children want to have fun even when eating. This gives you an opportunity to slip in the healthy foods they would otherwise avoid. Here are some simple tips to show you how breakfast can be made fun for children.
- Get them involved: Let your child make their own breakfast muesli or spread their own toast or get them involved in preparing breakfast for everyone. Because, if a child is involved in preparing a meal, they are more likely to want to eat it
- Make it Attractive: Liven up the plate with sandwiches with crunchy vegetables like cucumber, carrots or lettuce, and fresh fruits like grapes and apples. Arrange them in attractive shapes with colourful chutneys, dips, ketchup or squeezes on the side. Very poor eaters can be tempted to try something by giving them toast or bread cut into fun shapes and given creative names like "mousey nibbles"
- The Box Idea: For mid-morning snacks at school, give your child a large box with lots of little boxes inside it. Each little box can contain different snacks, e.g. pieces of apple, sliced carrot, a little piece of wholemeal bread, with interesting chutneys and dips
- Excite with Variety: Children find it boring to have the same things for breakfast every day. Add a little variety to the breakfast table. Get interesting breakfast recipes like pancakes with fruits and nuts or with honey, jam or chocolate sauce, stuffed paranthas, chapati rolls with filling of greens, veggies and sprouts, poha or upma with vegetables, sprouts and nuts, omelette with veggies like capsicum, onion, mushroom, porridges with fruits and nuts. A variety of colours is also good for stimulating sluggish morning appetites: treat your family to a few more surprises with different breakfast each day
Time: The breakfast killer
A hectic start to the day kills most kids' – and adults' – appetites in the morning. If the whole family gets up a quarter of an hour earlier than usual, everyone will be in a better mood for breakfast. You soon get used to it and everyone then starts the day in a more relaxed frame of mind. Be the one to set an example.