The importance of breakfast among school-age children The importance of breakfast among school-age children

When school-aged children are well-nourished, their academic performance improves, they have a lower risk of becoming obese and they will have better overall health.

As stated in the Healthy Eating Guide published by the Society for Community Nutrition of Spain, SENC (for its Spanish acronym), breakfast is the meal that can best guarantee this academic performance: “The energy and calories breakfast provides is fundamental to children having the strength to engage in physical activity in the morning, but it also contributes to good academic performance.”

SENC recommends minimizing the consumption of sugars and starches, and suggests that breakfasts should consist of three components: dairy products, fruits and grains.

People should spend between 15 and 20 minutes eating breakfast each day, something that doesn’t always happen; many children spend just a few minutes eating breakfast as part of their daily routine, which affects the quality of their breakfast. In response to this, SENC recommends waking children up early enough so they do not have to hurry and will have enough time to meet the suggested periods for eating at the table in a relaxed environment. They also recommend setting a time for the child to go to bed early, getting their backpack ready the night before, and making breakfast a special time of day in which, ideally, the whole family can participate together.

Some tips to keep in mind for children’s diets include: moderating their consumption of meats, especially processed meats; including foods from every nutrition group; consuming between a liter (about 4 cups) to half a liter of milk or other dairy product such as cheese, yogurt or dairy-based desserts; and including five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. (Also read: Healthy school lunches for kids).

HIGHLIGHT / When children eat healthy diets, this not only helps them to grow and develop, it is also key to preventing chronic diseases in adulthood.