Kids should not miss a healthy breakfast, says the author.

Ask any parent what his/her biggest worry is, and the reply usually is: getting a nourishing meal into children. Most kids can easily make out a ‘healthy’ ingredient slipped surreptitiously in their favourite snack. The nutritional quality of any meal, especially breakfast, is difficult to maintain, with kids getting fussier by the day.

Nutritious and healthy food apart, many kids simply skip their morning breakfast or just leave home after downing a glass of milk. It becomes tough to find alternatives that satisfy finicky taste buds, and yet provide key nutrients.

Children who eat breakfast regularly tend to have superior nutritional profiles than those who skip this important meal. Breakfast improves cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance. Studies have stressed the impact of a nourishing breakfast on the child’s academic performance. Research also shows that nutrients missed at breakfast are often not compensated by the other meals of the day. Skipping breakfast in childhood is associated with a number of poor health outcomes in adulthood, like obesity and poor cardio-metabolic health.

A healthy breakfast should comprise whole grains, fruits, milk and milk products. It should be well balanced and nutritious providing fibre, vitamins, minerals and also be filling. Planning a breakfast necessitates the need to be appealing to a child. Of late, breakfast cereals have become a popular option. The point to note here is that as long as it is made of the staple wholegrain and does not contain added sugar, it is not a bad option.

Healthy Options

Scrambled eggs/paneer + 2 pieces of wholegrain or multigrain bread + 1 glass milk

1 cup ready-to-eat high fibre cereal + 1 glass milk + 1 medium fresh fruit

1 bowl porridge sprinkled with dried fruits + 1 cup milk

1 vegetable whole wheat paratha + 1 bowl curd + 1 medium fruit

1 cup whole wheat vegetable pasta + 1 glass milk + 1 fruit