Today we’ll be having a collaborative post with Cynthia Bu Jawdeh from Strawberry Blu on the importance of breakfast and snacks for school aged children and young adults. Cynthia is a dietitian and holds a MS in Food Technology. She started Strawberry Blu to answer all questions on food from health and wellness, to nutrition, dieting and cooking. If you haven’t checked Cynthia’s awesome blog already, I invite you to. I am sure you will enjoy her writings and advice as much as I do! I would also like to congratulate Cynthia on making it in Lebanon’s 101 most popular blogs list!
Part 1: The Importance of Breakfast
Why is Breakfast Important?
Breakfast is one of the most important meals especially for school aged individuals (children and teens). As the term “BreakFast” shows that during breakfast we “BREAK” the “FAST”. Meaning, disturbing the sleeping night fast in the morning with a balanced diet, and that is essential for a healthy body. Studies have shown that breakfast has an important effect on behavior, learning and overall school performance. On the other hand, it may help control weight and reduce the risk of weight related diseases, because when the child eats breakfast he/she will not feel hungry earlier during the day and is more likely to eat less fat foods during breaks.
On the other hand, children who do not eat breakfast are often bad-tempered, impatient with bad attitudes toward school with less energy during the day. That in turn affects the child’s concentration and school performance ability.
As a conclusion, it’s very important to make breakfast a repetitive continuous behavior for ourselves and our children.
Now you might say: But we have a hectic lifestyle and no time to make breakfast for ourselves even. We say, nowadays we all have a hectic lifestyle; thus why not prepare the basic ingredients beforehand to make the “on the go” process fast, healthy and easy.
A balanced breakfast contains a source of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with vegetables and fruits.
To make it easier for you, we will share with some simple breakfast recipe ideas.
Breakfast Recipe Ideas
- Labneh Sandwich with a Banana
- Light Cheese Sandwich with an Apple
- Zaatar and Labneh Sandwich with Vegetables
- Broccoli Mini Omelets or any type of vegetable omelet (made in the shape of a muffin)
- Milk, Cereals and mixed nuts (that’s for the weekends
- Stress-free overnight oats recipe
Part 2: The Importance of Snacks
Snacks can be nutritional disasters if children are having sugary drinks, chips and all-they-can-eat candy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Good planning and some tricks can help you make sure your kid is snacking the right way.
Why do kids need snacks?
- Children have small stomachs; they need snacks to keep them going to the next meal – a midmorning snack to keep them focused at school and going till lunch and an afternoon snack to make them go to dinner. However, if the next meal is just within two hours, you wouldn’t want to offer a snack so as not to ruin your child’s appetite.
- Snacks make it easier for children to get all the nutrients they need.
How can you help your kid have the right snack?
Snacking is not equal to grazing. You don’t want your children to be eating every hour and they should not be allowed to have snacks in front of the TV or computer screen. They will be more likely to override their satiety signals and gain weight. Plus, you don’t want your children to consume extra calories they are not burning off with physical activity.
- Sit down with your child every week or every month and decide on what snacks to have. They will appreciate being treated as adults and will be more likely to go for nutritious and healthy snacks that they have come up with.
- If your child likes chocolate, include it in the plan occasionally just don’t make the mistake of calling it a treat. You don’t want your child to think there is something special about it.
- Midmorning snacks should be simple and appealing enough to compete with cafeteria junk or whatever other kids are having.
- Afternoon snacks can be a bit experimental. Since they are mostly offered at home, a new fruit or vegetable can be introduced.
- Cutting up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes works well with smaller kids.
What are some good snack ideas?
A snack should be nutrient dense; easy to eat, and low in salt, sugar and fat. You want to steer clear of prepackaged snacks that contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives.
- Fruits are obvious snack foods. They can be served alone or paired with a source of protein: an apple or a banana with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, grapes or watermelon with feta or two slices of halloumi cheese.
- Make your own fruit yogurt without the additives by mixing half a cup of yogurt with slices of peaches, plums or strawberries…
- A handful of dried fruits (apricots, prunes…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
- Veggie sticks including carrots, cucumbers, peppers … to dip in labneh, yogurt or hummus.
- Homemade baked vegetable “chips”. Forget store brought potato chips. Experiment with zucchini, sweet potato and squash. Cut them into thin circles, toss in a teaspoon of canola oil, add your favorite herbs or spices and bake in hot oven until crispy.
- A small bowl of plain popcorn.
- Half a small bagel or pita bread topped with a slice of turkey, low-fat cream cheese, or low-sugar jam.
- The occasional snacks (once a week): a small chocolate biscuit bar, a snack-sized chocolate bar, or two biscuits or cookies, or a small muffin (homemade is better like this Banana Oat Cake with chocolate or check the ingredient list for the most natural ingredients and serving size).
We hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to connect with us .