By Magic Breakfast's Nutrition Team

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is the body’s way of refuelling after fasting overnight. It is important for children to have breakfast every day, but what they choose to eat in the mornings is also very crucial. A child who does not eat a good breakfast becomes tired in school and has a shorter attention span, especially nearing lunchtime.

Every meal a child has through the day provides an opportunity for their body to get the vitamins and minerals they need to function properly. Children who miss breakfast are less likely to meet their nutrient requirements by the end of the day. They are also more likely to consume more junk food through the day and to snack on items that are high in fat, salt and sugar, and low in nutritional value.

The Eatwell Guide is a representation of how different foods contribute towards a healthy, balanced diet. In order for adults and children (over the age of two) to obtain all the nutrients required by the human body, their food and drink intake across a week should look similar to the Eatwell Guide.

A good breakfast should include nutritious food from at least three of the main food groups in the Eatwell Guide. For example, a carbohydrate such as a breakfast cereal, dairy such as milk, and a fruit/vegetable such as an apple.

High-fibre, carbohydrate-rich breakfast options help children feel fuller for longer. Wholegrain bread or low sugar cereal, fruit, milk, yoghurt or eggs are all good breakfast options. Always remember to include a drink with breakfast as this helps to encourage the appetite, but also keeps a child well hydrated. 100% pure fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies are great options for a vitamin boost, but remember they are high in sugars so stick to 150ml portions and alternate drink choices across the week with water and low fat milk.

If a child does not like these common breakfast options, try alternatives such as a breakfast sandwich or an omelette with low fat cheese and tomatoes. Breakfast bagels topped with fresh fruit and a glass of low fat milk make a tasty, quick and easy option for families who are pressed for time in the mornings, and some of the prep can be done the night before.

Remember, the reason behind breakfast is to feed your child’s body the protein and energy it needs to start the day, so make sure their breakfast is nutritious, balanced, fuelling, but also tasty! 

NB: You can download a poster of the Eatwell Guide here.