Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. As the quote goes “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”, breakfast should always be filling and full of healthy nutrients. This goes especially for kids. Their growth demands good food and food full of healthy and enriching ingredients. Often, it become easy and convenient to let breakfast fall in your list of priorities, but taking just a few minutes of your time out to prepare a wholesome breakfast can make a stark difference to your day. It is of utmost importance for parents to feed their child a nice and wholesome meal every morning. Parents these days are so caught up with work that they try to get their child to eat convenience food to save time. This is the worst mistake that you can do.
Advantages of eating a healthy breakfast
• A healthy meal in morning lowers your cholesterol level
• The habit of eating healthy breakfast in the morning can lead to improved performance and concentration in the classroom
• Children get more endurance and strength and are likely to engage in physical activities if they consume a healthy meal every morning
• Better and improved eye-hand coordination for children
• Many studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast helps in body weight control
• Eating a good and wholesome breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle
• Eating a nutritional breakfast will help your child be less cranky
• If you start your child’s day with a healthy breakfast, it will help in boosting their metabolism
Children are mostly attracted to unhealthy and junk food. Unfortunately, however good they might taste, they are devoid of the necessary nutrients that is required by every child to start his/her day with. This might result in intensified levels of fatigue, short attention span, decreased levels of performance and attention in class and low energy level. This can also have a negative impact on their academic performance. In addition, convenience food and junk food can also lead to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity among children.
The good news here is it is possible to make unhealthy food a part of a healthier breakfast. All that it will take is a little thought, effort and preparation from your end to provide nutritional food to your children.
Below mentioned are 10 ways you can make an unhealthy food healthier for your child:
1. Make your own energy bar by using dates instead of using sugar
Energy bars have become a fad these days. It is very easy to grab an energy bar and head off to school, particularly on those mornings when there is a chance of your child missing their bus. Energy bars are often found in the healthy food aisle in supermarkets but they are full of sugar. What you can do is make your very own energy bar. It is said to be beneficial if you use dates in place of sugar in your energy bar. Dates contain sugar as well, but they also contain fibre and iron, which are nutritious. To hold the bar together, liquid sugar would still be needed, but adding dates will cut back on the sugar percentage.
2. Bake your own fries
Who doesn’t love fries, right? Everyone does. But children are obsessed with it. Given an option they would love to eat fried food all day every day. But deep fried and fried foods are filled with fats. An alternate solution to frying is baking. You have an option of baking your French fries. They will taste good and remain healthy. You have to ensure they remain crispy after baking. In order to do that, you need to cut thin slices of potato and not thicker ones. By baking the French fries instead of frying them, you could cut down on the amount of oil used and make it healthier for your children. Instead of the white variety of potatoes, you can opt for the colorful ones, they are said to be healthier. Colored potatoes are said to contain cancer-protecting properties which are beneficial for anybody’s consumption.
3. Try making your own bread
Bread is go-to breakfast option. Children love eating bread and jam. But the store-bought breads, even the wheat ones, contain a lot of unnecessary additives and don’t really fall in the healthy food category. Making homemade bread is much easier than you think. Another advantage is the fact that you would know what will go inside the bread. In simple words, you would be making healthy breads for your children and also give them what they love to eat. It will be a win-win for both the parties. Homemade bread will also be easier on your pocket. It will definitely be cheaper than store bread.
4. Make brownies healthy by hiding beans inside them
Nearly every child loves chocolate and chocolate brownies. Give them brownies for breakfast and they will just gobble them up. But you must be wondering how chocolate brownies for breakfast relate to healthy eating, right? Make friends with black beans. They are very rich in calcium, iron and fibre. They blend well with chocolate as well, owing to their texture and colour. Once they are blended and processed. Adding these healthy black beans to your child’s diet is extremely beneficial, especially in the morning. Also your child won’t throw a fuss over it as he will be eating chocolate brownies instead of black beans. For black bean recipes, you can surf the internet. You will get many different recipes that you can use.
5. Prepare your own healthy smoothies at home
Children are drawn towards everything sweet. The sweeter the better it is for them. Children love having smoothies for breakfast. The issue with ready-made smoothies is that they don’t contain fresh fruit juice. Store bought smoothies are full of additives and concentrates. You can solve this issue by making your own smoothies at home. You won’t be requiring a fancy blender for this. You can use fresh fruits and vegetable to make the smoothies. Add dates or ripe bananas to add a sweetness quotient. This will help you in avoiding sugar usage. Breakfast won’t get any healthier than this.
6. Replace store bought fruit drinks with homemade fresh fruit juice
Bottled and packaged fruit drinks are full of additives and sugar. They hardly contain any fruit juice or fibre. Many fruit drinks available in the market are mostly made with flavoured additives that just give a fruity taste but don’t have any nutrient or fibre, only sugar. These fruit juices are extremely harmful for your child’s health. Instead the clever thing would be to squeeze out fresh fruit juice every morning and making your child drink that. A freshly squeezed melon and orange taste much better than the store bought juices. You can either use a blender or a manual squeezer. If you need the juice to be a bit sweeter, you have the option to add ripe bananas and dates to the juice. Having freshly squeezed fruit juice in the morning is extremely beneficial for everyone, not just children.
7. Include protein in your child’s diet
Your child will require protein to grow up into a strong healthy person. Protein also satisfies your appetite more than other convenience food. Good source of protein include yogurt, cheese and peanut butter. Include some protein in your child’s morning meal as they make for a pretty healthy breakfast. Eggs are rich in protein as well. You can also include boiled egg or scrambled eggs in your child’s breakfast menu.
8. Make your own healthy popcorns
Popcorn is another convenience food that kids love eating. Rather than buying readymade popcorn from the store, you can make your own in microwave. Store bought popcorns have excess fatty oils which are extremely unhealthy. Why buy them when you can make your own. Take half cup of dry corn kernels and pour them in a paper bag. Put this bag in the microwave and set the timer for 2.5 minutes. Keep a close watch on the popcorns. The moment you see a two second gap between the pops, stop the microwave, take the bag out and add salt and flavour of your choice.
9. Choose vinaigrette dressing
Replace creamy salad dressing with vinaigrette dressing. Creamy dressings contain excess fat where is vinaigrette dressing does not. Also, you can just make do with a very little cream or sauce in your salad. It is best if your child has fresh greens. But if he/she is fussy about it, you can spice up the salad by adding a little vinaigrette dressing.
10. Use avocados instead of mayonnaise in your sandwich
Sandwiches are the easiest breakfast options for kids. They are portable, less messy and easy to make. But sandwiches contain a lot of mayonnaise which is full of fat. Instead of that, spice up your child’s breakfast with some mashed avocados. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C.