What your children eat could determine how well they do in school, how well they pay attention, learn, and even the grades they get. So many adult health problems–diabetes, hypertension, heart disease–can be avoided if we can get our kids eating healthy foods from an early age.
The link between breakfast and the brain starts with energy. The 100 billion nerve cells and an equal amount of supporting cells in the brain make up only two percent of body weight, but use about 30 percent of the calories a child eats in a day. Those brain cells are fuel fussy, demanding that all of their energy come from carbs or glucose. By the time the alarm sounds, much of the glucose stores and blood sugar levels have been drained to fuel the body throughout the night. Granted, your child probably feels and thinks fine for awhile, because the good night’s sleep energizes the body and brain. But underneath that morning pep the brain is running on fumes and your child’s thinking will pay for it later. On the other hand, take five minutes for breakfast and a child will think clearer all day. Students who eat breakfast perform better on memory and recall tests compared to students who skip breakfast. Students who eat healthy breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the day and do better in school and on tests, according to experts at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. They also show greater attention and visual memory compared to breakfast skippers.
So how does this translate to foods kids will eat? I share kid-friendly breakfast and lunch ideas on KATU-TV AM Northwest: