Research shows breakfast is what counts most when it comes to improving your child’s grades.
A review of 41 studies, published in 2016 in Britain's Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, is one of many independent studies showing that breakfast was the number one dietary factor linked to better marks. More recently, Nutrition Research Australia found much the same results by analysing data from the ABS Australian Health Survey.
Keen to put this information before Australian parents, the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum asked Dr Kellie Bilinski, a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia and a parent herself, for some advice about family breakfasts.
A good quality breakfast helps kids to avoid the “fuzzies”, or poor concentration, that can set in with mid-morning hunger pangs. Better concentration helps improve literacy and numeracy grades. This can be done with a breakfast that includes cereal, dairy and fruit. The latest ABS data reveals children who started their day with breakfast cereal had the healthiest diets.
If you're pressed for time, prepare a “bento box” with simple ingredients such as dry breakfast cereal, some Greek yoghurt and easy to nibble fruit like grapes, berries and mandarin segments. This is not only nutritious but suitable for kids to eat in the car.
If your kids aren’t hungry first thing in the morning, one solution is to make a smoothie by blending cereal, milk and their favourite fruits. All their nutrition needs are there, in a form that's easy to take, and it is portable. Make sure they also avoid snacks before bedtime.
Drink it all
Calcium is essential for growing bodies, strong bones and teeth. One of the main sources of calcium in children’s diets is the milk they have with cereal. Make sure they drink the milk. Adding a straw can make this easy and fun.
Often parents feel rushed in the morning, only thinking about getting the kids fed and ready. Try not to fall into the trap of just grabbing a coffee. Take five minutes to eat breakfast yourself. It sets a great example, and helps give you the energy and patience you need to manage the morning rush.
For further information visit cereal4brekkie.org.au.