Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and having a good breakfast is an important part of being healthy. Unfortunately, though, many adults and children are skipping breakfast or having the wrong breakfast that is too high in sugar or fat. Eating a healthy breakfast can provide us with enough energy to last until lunchtime. It also prevents us from unhealthy snacking throughout the morning. 

The importance of a healthy breakfast should be instilled into children from a very young age. It is important to remember that children tend to learn more by example than from spoken advice. So adults can play a key role as breakfast role models. School staff, parents, carers and guardians can all play a crucial role in this respect.

Below are some tips for adults to support children in understanding the importance of breakfast:

  • Never skip breakfast

As a parent don’t be tempted to skip breakfast, even if you are trying to lose weight. This will send the wrong message to children about the importance of a good breakfast.

  • Eat breakfast with your child

It is very important to sit down with a child in your care and eat with them. This way they will learn social skills from you, learn how to sit properly, use cutlery properly, learn to use high-sugar spreads and toppings sparingly, and see for themselves the importance you place on eating a healthy meal first thing. 

This also applies to a school breakfast club assistant. Sitting and eating with pupils will encourage them to eat breakfast too, especially if they are reluctant to try new types of food.

  • Try and have the same breakfast as your child

The healthy message will be lost if you sit beside a child eating a chocolate filled pastry!

  • Plan ahead

If you find that you are pressed for time in the mornings, try to prepare breakfast the night before. For example, cheese sandwiches or rolls can be made beforehand. Porridge can also be made the night before and simply put in the microwave, or heated up in a saucepan, in the morning. Another quick breakfast is plain yoghurt with chopped up fruit.

  • Get the children involved

Let children get involved in making breakfast. For example, allow them to spread their own condiments or serve themselves juice. Remember to always dilute juice with 50% water.

  • Talk about how much you enjoy having a good breakfast

Talking about the benefits of having a good breakfast will help to impress the importance of the meal upon a child.

  • Swap the TV for the table

As an adult if you watch TV while you eat your breakfast then swap this for the table. This will set a good example for children as sitting at the table removes any distractions and allows everyone to focus on, and enjoy, their food. This will also avoid over eating which can take place if someone is distracted and not focusing on what is going into their mouth.

  • Try not to have breakfast on the go

This is not an ideal way to have the breakfast meal. Also, with breakfast on the go you are likely to pick up an unhealthy food item such as cereal bar, chocolate, fizzy drinks or crisps.

  • Make breakfast a special event over the weekend

Try to make breakfast special during weekends. You can do this by making something you wouldn’t normally make during the week due to lack of time e.g. scrambled eggs, pancakes, banana bread or smoothies.  There will also be more time for children to get involved in food preparation and experimentation.

So remember to...