Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan offers us advice on how to add goodness into kids breakfast.
Adding goodness into kids breakfasts
September is time for a fresh start. As the kids get back to school and family life takes on more of a routine, getting your day off to a good start can make all the difference to your child’s nutrition for the day. Eating breakfast is associated with better micronutrient intake and lower levels of obesity in children.
From toddlers to teens, all children can benefit from eating something at breakfast time. From better mood and concentration to balanced energy and body composition, eating a healthy breakfast has physical, emotional and academic benefits for children. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072724/
Breakfast is a great opportunity to add extra nutrition to your child’s daily diet. A decent breakfast has some key building blocks:
1. A portion of fruit
Chopped, sliced, grated or stewed, adding one portion of fruit to breakfast will help your child reach the 5-a-day target. Try these ideas:
- fresh or frozen berries in overnight oats
- banana on toast
- berries baked into breakfast muffins
- melon slices
- grated apple in porridge
- stewed berry compote with yoghurt
2. A wholegrain carbohydrate
A wholegrain, cereal for sustained energy and added fibre. Choosing a low-GI breakfast can help your child’s attention right through to break time. .https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4863264/. Choose from something like:
- wholemeal toast
- wholewheat bagel
3. A protein source
To help regulate appetite and sustain energy levels throughout the morning. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8399074/.
- nuts and milled seeds
- nut butter
Although it may be tempting to give into your child’s cry for sugary, processed breakfast cereals, there are some easy tricks to help avoid arguments over the cereal box.
If you face a battle at breakfast time, here are 12 ways to sneak some goodness into your kid’s breakfast:
- Give your child a choice of 2 healthy options – that way they will feel more in control and you are onto a winner as you know you are sending them off to school with good nutritious start to their day. The choice between a wholegrain cereal or yoghurt and fruit will keep everyone happy.
- Get the breakfast habit. Make breakfast a non-negotiable part of your morning routine. Even if that means getting up 10 minutes earlier.
- Save time in the morning by getting organised the night before. Set the table and set out what you are going to eat.
- Lead by example. Where possible, sit down and eat with your kids at breakfast
- Offer smaller portions. If your child is not hungry, try smaller portions – half a slice of toast with peanut butter and banana is better than nothing.
- If your child’s favourite breakfast is sugar-coated, try mixing 50:50 with a lower sugar alternative.
- Make a batch of overnight oats by soaking jumbo oats in milk with a little cinnamon, some grated apple or berries and a spoonful of Linwoods Flaxseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin & Chia Seeds & Goji Berries.
- Make a batch of healthy chia jam to stir into porridge, spread on toast, top a bagel or add to yoghurt. Gently heat 250g frozen raspberries in a saucepan until they start to break down. Stir in 3 dessertspoonfuls of Linwoods milled chia seeds and a teaspoonful of honey. Heat for another 3-5 minute and leave to cool. As it cools, the jam will thicken. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for a week.
- Bake, stir or mix a spoonful of Linwoods 5 seed into baked muffins, pancakes, or porridge. With essential fats, protein and packs with mineral and antioxidants, this is an easy way for add a little pop of nutrition to your child’s breakfast
- Swap sugar-laden chocolate spread or jam with nut butter, cream cheese or banana on toast
- French toast (eggy bread) – whisk up an egg with a spoonful of Linwoods milled chia seeds, soak a couple of slices of wholemeal toast in the egg mix and cook over a medium heat. Serve with berries and banana and top with yoghurt.
- Try a smoothie bowls. Blitz banana, berries and yoghurt in your blender. Serve in a bowl topped with sliced banana and a spoonful of Linwoods Flaxseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin & Chia Seeds & Goji Berries.
Jane McClenaghan is Northern Ireland’s most recognised nutritionist with over 20 year’s experience. Her company Vital Nutrition specialises in developing and delivering group sessions for corporate and community clients both online and in-person as well as running an online membership club and offering one-to-one consultations.
Jane’s knowledge in the subject area of health and wellbeing is unrivalled as indicated by her qualifications, reputation and experience.
Jane’s sessions cover a range of health and wellbeing topics from mental health to stress, female and male health, healthy eating on a budget, heart health, sleep, family wellbeing and much more.
Jane is also the author of two books on nutrition, she writes a weekly column in the Irish News, has a monthly slot on radio U105 and is a regular contributor to the BBC, The Belfast Telegraph and many other media outlets.
You can find out more and get in touch with Vital Nutrition here;