Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But getting my kids to have breakfast before they head to school can sometimes be challenging. They complain that it’s too early for them to have breakfast!! A cup of MILO and (if I am lucky) half a slice of bread with Ovaltine spread or half a waffle is all they could take before rushing off to catch the bus to school. Sometimes, we pack their breakfast for them with repeat reminders to eat it before they step out of the house. Most times, these breakfasts returned home, flattened and grimy, and go straight into the trash.
In a recent SGBreakfast Study conducted by MILO® Singapore to study the breakfast habits of Singapore Primary and Secondary School Children, they found that an alarming:
12.3% of Singapore children aged 6 to 12 years old SKIP BREAKFAST
Kids who skip breakfast INCREASE with age – 24.7% of breakfast skippers are 13 to 17 years old
50% of students who skipped breakfast felt irritable, tired and unable to concentrate in school.
“Skipping breakfast impacts a child’s mental and physical strength to deal with everyday challenges, particularly exam stress,” says Dr. Kalpana Bhaskaran, Manager for Nutrition Research under the School of Applied Science and Head for the Glycemic Index Research Unit at Temasek Polytechnic who was speaking at the panel discussion organized by MILO® Singapore (1 September).
According to this article, “breakfast consumption has been shown to enhance academic performance by improving cognitive functions such as memory and neural efficiency.”
Okay, so we parents KNOW that breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day; that it is VITAL to sustain our kids throughout the day and help them to focus in school! Yada, yada, yada…
The question is HOW can we get our kids to have breakfast before they go to school. And WHAT kind of breakfast are most palatable and effective in helping them focus in school?
How To Get Kids To Eat Breakfast
Celebrity mom Jamie Yeo who was moderating the panel discussion at Nestle’s Singrain Study panel discussion (15 September) shares that she eats breakfast with her 5-year-old daughter to instill the habit of having breakfast daily at an early age. She also suggests adding some zests to the breakfast cereals with berries, yogurt or bananas, nuts, and kiwis to make it more interesting.
Daddy Blogger Edmund Tay serves up whole-meal bread for quick-and-go breakfasts on school days while on weekends, he and his wife make breakfast like French toast or porridge with his kids. Understanding our local culture of grab-and-go mornings, Ms. Gladys Wong, Chief Dietician for Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, suggests making/packing sandwiches or making muesli-bars out of the breakfast cereals with honey so that it is easier for our local kids to eat on the go.
Dr. Bhaskaran also shares that if a child can’t stomach any food in the early morning, having a cup of MILO® which contains ACTIVGO, a combination of Protomalt, vitamins, and minerals is a good choice to tie them over till recess time when they can have a proper meal.
What To Eat?
Dr. Bhaskaran advises parents to opt for healthier breakfast choices that are low in Glycemic Index (GI) as it releases energy slowly and prevents the sugar level from dropping too rapidly. She recommends food choices such as oats, multi-grained bread, and even MILO® powder prepared with low-fat milk. Click on this link and this link for more ideas on low glycemic breakfast ideas.
Another recommended healthy food choice for our kids is whole grains!
Ms. Ece Durukan, Regional Nutrition and External Affairs Manager at Nestle Breakfast Cereals (Asia, Middle East & Africa) shares that “whole grains are an essential component in the diet that provides us with an important source of fiber and other nutrients which help to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain.”
However, a commissioned study by Newcastle University on 561 Singapore kids aged 6 to 12 revealed that our Singaporean children are falling significantly short of the recommended daily whole grain intake!
94% of children surveyed DO NOT meet whole-grain intake recommendations and over half of 6 to 12 years olds do not consume any whole grain in their diet at all.
People who regularly eat whole grains enjoy the following benefits:
- Have a better nutrient intake (higher fiber, vitamins, and minerals)
- Have a healthier body weight
- Are less likely to gain weight over time
- Have a healthier heart
- Are less likely to have diabetes and certain cancers.
With so many health benefits, why are we NOT eating more wholegrain products? One reason is those whole grain products like pasta or bread are very bland. Another may be the price – they are slightly more expensive.
Our panel suggests consuming whole grains in wholemeal bread, quinoa, brown rice, and breakfast cereals. Nestle breakfast cereals such as Koko Krunch, Honey Stars, and Cheerios are found to be one of the leading sources of whole-grain intakes at breakfast!!
I hope this post has provided you with loads of breakfast ideas to serve your kids. Now there is no excuse for you or your child to not have breakfast!