Thursday, March 8, 2012

The state of our school breakfast and healthy kids

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting my son's elementary school during breakfast time. I went in having only a description of what to expect from the guidance counselor. It was hectic but well organized. The cafeteria workers were efficient and friendly and very helpful. Today the children had the choice of scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, strawberry muffin, applesauce or banana, and juice or milk. Breakfast is free for all of the kids. From observing the kids most chose the eggs and ate at least 75% of their meals. The children were very receptive when I walked around to discuss the importance of  breakfast. They told me what their favorite breakfast food was and I pointed out how it benefit them during the day. They were very polite and interested. This elementary school serves on average of 300 children every morning. In a school that has 900 students I thought this was pretty good.

As a nation the US serves 7 million school breakfast every day compared to 27 million school lunches. About 72,000 schools nationwide offer free breakfast at school.
There are a multitude of reasons as to why more children do not participate in school breakfast. The important thing to take away during this National Nutrition Month is that kids should be getting some sort of meal in the morning to keep them fueled up until lunch time.A meal that consists of whole grains (whole wheat toast, oatmeal or cereal), a protein source (such as milk or eggs), and a fruit source (100% juice or banana)
 Studies have shown that kids that eat breakfast perform better in school, have less behaviour problems and have more energy for physical activity.

I encourage all parents to consider their morning routine. And to remember that not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day but it is also a great place for a child to fuel up on whole grains, calcium, vitamin D and potassium, that they may miss out on throughout the day.

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