Anatomy of a Great Breakfast
“Breakfast consumption is associated with positive outcomes for diet quality, micronutrient intake, weight status, and lifestyle factors. Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance.” (1)
what makes up a great breakfast?
One study compared oatmeal with standard boxed breakfast cereal and got these results: “Breakfast (oatmeal) intake enhances cognitive performance, particularly on tasks requiring processing of a complex visual display. The results extend previous findings by showing differential effects of breakfast type. Boys and girls showed enhanced spatial memory and girls showed improved short-term memory after consuming oatmeal.” (2)
So quantity and quality count.
For children to thrive at school, they need a substantial breakfast with nutrient density. This means slow carbohydrate with fiber (like oats), good sources of protein, and fat. These macronutrients will balance a child’s blood sugar, unlike those highly refined boxed cereals. Healthy kids with growing bodies also need lots of vitamins and minerals to function at their best – these come from real food.
How to make a Balanced Breakfast
- Good Fats
- Slow Carbohydrates (with Fiber)
Protein (and fat) Choices – Proteos means first so start with these:
- Nitrate Free (hormone-free) sausages
- Leftover meat, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish from dinner
- Plain Yoghurt, high protein cheese like parmesan
- Nuts and Seeds (ideally soaked)
- If your kids like Smoothies then add a High-quality Protein powder like grass-fed un-denatured whey protein (free from artificial sweeteners, etc.), vegan proteins (rice, hemp, pea) but their taste and texture can be tough
Good fats – Many of the proteins above (except protein powders) all contain good fats, but I recommend adding extra including:
- Grass-fed Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Olives and avocados
- Also, to note: Macadamia, walnuts are very high in good fats. Flax seeds and chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty
Slow carbs – From true whole grains and below-ground vegetables.
- Brown rice
- Traditional Wholemeal bread (like Sourdough rye)
- Sweet potato, white potato homemade leftover fries
- Wholemeal wraps
Fibrous Carbohydrates – from Vegetables
Where possible especially to a fry-up adding some vegetables like cooked tomato and mushrooms is a great idea especially in omelets or another egg or sausage combination or a wrap.
High Nutrient-dense fruits that are local, seasonal, and chemical-free fruit where possible.
Start your child up for a great day with a nutrient-dense and balanced breakfast containing, protein, good fats and slow carbohydrates. The rewards will be happier and healthier kids and their teachers will love you too instead of having kids bouncing off the walls one minute and a zombie trance after a sugar-filled boxed cereal breakfast where’s off and blood sugar crashes.
- Adolphus, Katie et al. “The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents.” Frontiers in human neuroscience vol. 7 425. 8 Aug. 2013, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00425
- Mahoney CR1 et al. “Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children.”Physiol Behav. 2005 Aug 7;85(5):635-45.