Healthy Breakfast Key to Successful School Day

Back to school is right around the corner and for many kids, getting up and eating a healthy breakfast isn’t easy. But as the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s important your child is properly fueled for her school day. Multiple studies show that proper nutrition gives your child the energy she needs to focus and ready to learn. Hungry kids aren’t focused on the teacher; they’re focused on their growling tummies.

Get in the habit now of having a healthy breakfast. Don’t wait for that first day of school when things will be hectic. A good, healthy breakfast is a mix of protein, whole grains, dairy products, and fruit. Looking for some ideas? Here are a few:

  • Bowl of whole grain cereal with milk and a piece of fruit. (Stay away from sugar-infused cereals -- they will only set your daughter up for a sugar crash by mid-morning.)
  • Whole grain bagel with peanut butter, a glass of milk, and a piece of fruit. Or you could put peanut butter on one half of the bagel and fruit jelly on the other half.
  • Eggs with whole grain toast and a little fruit.
  • Pancakes or waffles with fruit.
  • Oatmeal with a piece of fruit or dried fruit on top.
  • Fruit smoothie made with yogurt (for protein).

I’m sure you noticed I included fruit with everything. I know it’s not always easy to include fruit, but at breakfast your child can have a banana or a glass of orange juice to help get in that serving.  

Another key to a successful breakfast is time. Make sure your child has enough time in the morning to eat a good breakfast. If she’s not used to eating right away after waking up or is a slow eater, then get her up a little earlier to make sure there’s enough time to eat while sitting down at the table. If you’re eating breakfast in the car on the way to school, chances are that it won’t be very healthy!

I know it can be a challenge sometimes to get kids to eat breakfast – especially if they are not a morning person, but it’s essential to make sure to get their day and learning off to a good start. Be a good role model by eating a healthy breakfast yourself – it will help you get your day off on the right foot.

Melissa Garcia, MD, is a family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Appleton North.