School Fuel: Kids’ Healthy Morning How-Tos

Published November 1, 2006

Getting kids off to school in the morning with a tummy full of healthy food will do wonders for their health. And a well-balanced breakfast can even help children achieve good grades, because food stabilizes blood sugar levels, which in turn increases brain function–including the classroom-critical, too-often-elusive attention span.

Here are a few easy ways to give your children a healthy head start each day, from the experts at

  • Turn off the TV while eating breakfast, as studies show those who watch TV while eating consume higher amounts of fat and calories, as they are more inclined to eat “mindlessly.”
  • Small changes at breakfast equal big results. Skim milk instead of whole, wheat toast vs. white, egg whites or egg substitute vs. whole eggs, lean ham vs. bacon, sliced tomatoes vs. hash browns, whole-grain cereal or oatmeal vs. the sugar-laden kinds, whole-wheat waffles with a touch of honey vs. a toaster pastry–you get the idea.
  • Parents can make healthier cereals just as exciting to children as the sugar-stuffed varieties by putting their own candy choice into the box as a prize. You can also add dried or dehydrated fruit such as raisins, apricots, pears, and apples to healthier cereals to increase their “curb appeal” and flavor.
  • Fresh fruit is always a crowd pleaser, and every child is apt to love at least one type. Allow your children to make “special fruit requests” and honor them. Try implementing a “fruit of the week” plan. Take the opportunity to discuss the health benefits of each week’s selection.
  • No time for a sit-down? In a pinch, cereal bars can be a life saver. Seek those in which the first ingredient listed is whole grain, with less than 10 grams of sugar per bar and a maximum of three to four grams of fat.
  • Commend your child when he or she makes a healthy food choice by proclaiming how strong, fit, and healthy you bet the child will be that day for eating such healthy food. It’s also fun to tell younger children healthy food will help them grow an inch. Measure the top of their heads against the wall to help you “prove” it.

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