“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” is a saying you’ve probably heard already. Tossed around as it may be, it doesn’t lie. A good breakfast is a part of any successful day, especially for active children and school kids.
A report by the No Kid Hungry organization earlier this year found that 75% of educators noticed a significant performance difference between the students who eat breakfast from those that don’t. A good learning day is a day that starts with a good breakfast.
To help us be better equipped to prepare the right kid of breakfast to our children, we asked a couple of questions to Nestlé Philippine’s Corporate Nutritionist Executive Ivy Sicat about the most important meal of the day, breakfast, and breakfast food.
1. What essential nutrients does my child require in the morning? “All nutrients are an important part of a child’s diet, especially that they need them to support growth and development,” says Sicat. The best kind of breakfast food for a child, however, is one that is rich in fiber and protein, she adds. According to her, these keep a child feeling full and energized for longer.
She also says that a hearty and balanced breakfast that provides 20% of a child’s daily energy needs should be the goal.
2. What exactly is a balanced breakfast? To ensure a balanced meal, your breakfast plate should consist of these three food groups,” says Sicat. These are:
Go Foods, or energy-giving food, which include bread, rice, noodles and root crops (SP tip: Whole wheat bread and brown rice are rich in fiber!)
Grow Foods, or body-building food, which include: protein sources like meat, poultry, fish, beans and nuts
Glow Foods, or body-regulating food, which include: fruits and vegetables (These are rich in fiber too!)
Nutritious Beverages, such as water, milk, juices, malt drinks like Milo, etc.
3. What kinds of food are a no-no in the morning? “Having something for breakfast is better than none at all,” says Sicat, “but if given choices, best to choose nutrient-dense, meaning more nutrients and less calories, over calorie-dense food items.
Limit too much simple sugars in your breakfast,” she adds. Simple sugars, or simple carbohydrates, are found in refined sugar, like table sugar. Sweet treats like cookies, candies and cakes are high in simple sugars. “In general, high sugars food items has low satiety effect meaning you feel hungry right away.”
4. Mornings can be such a rush. What's a good substitute for rice and ulam when on the go? Sicat suggests grains such as whole grain bread or breakfasts with whole grain. Fruit is also good. Pick those that are in season. A quick source of protein would be eggs and milk.
5. What happens when my child skips or doesn't get a proper breakfast? “Breakfast skipping has a negative impact on cognitive performance that increases in magnitude over the morning,” says Sicat. Your child’s memory skills, alertness level and concentration may take a back seat without the energy it gets from a proper breakfast, she expounds.
“Also, severall studies show that breakfast eaters were found to have better moods, fewer absences, and lower risks of becoming overweight and obese compared to children who skip breakfast.
In addition, children who miss breakfast may not be able to ‘catch-up’ on missed nutrients during the rest of the day,” says Sicat.
There you have it, parents; the importance of breakfast explained to you by a nutritionist. To keep your family in tip-top shape, try your best to never miss a breakfast. In case this has gotten you inspired to level up your family's start of the day meal, here are a couple of articles that might prove useful: