We’re often told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but just why is that? And with so much choice out there, what should we plump for?
Since it’s National Breakfast Week, we asked child nutritionist Lorna Driver-Davies why breakfast is so crucial, and for some tips on how to provide a simple, nutritious family breakfast.
Lorna says a good breakfast is one of the best ways to boost children’s concentration during the school day, helping their brains work faster and also giving them the physical energy they need to run around and play.
She’s a big advocate of having porridge for breakfast, explaining that oats release their energy slowly over the course of the morning, giving children a steady level of energy “rather than going from bouncing bunnies to suddenly sleepy”, as she puts it! Oats are also a source of fibre, which helps keep our digestive systems healthy.
Adding nuts and seeds to your porridge increases the amount of protein – essential for growing bodies – and healthy fats. Both fats and protein also help to keep us fuller for longer.
Chopped nuts and seeds can be prepared ahead of time and kept fresh in a jar, helping to save time in the mornings. One Brazil nut offers a great daily dose of selenium, pumpkin seeds contain the required minerals iron, copper and zinc, sunflower seeds will increase the copper content, while almonds and hazelnuts are a source of iron. All of these minerals are great for boosting a child’s immune system.
Lorna also suggests adding some chopped fruit on top. This will increase the fibre content and give a vitamin C boost, which is essential for fighting infection. Good sources include strawberries, raspberries and apples – and they’re all delicious with porridge.
We’d love to hear your favourite breakfast recipes – tweet us @EatHappyProject to share how you start the day eating happy.