Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day for children?
An article by Frances Sizer & Ellie Whitney in Nutrition Concepts and Controversies.
Elders have long held that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for children, this bit of wisdom is now backed by science. A nutritious breakfast is a central feature of a child’s diet that supports healthy growth and development. When a child consistently skips breakfast or is allowed to choose sugary foods (candy or marshmallows) in place of nourishing ones (whole-grain cereals), the child will fail to get enough of several nutrients. Nutrients missed from a skipped breakfast won’t be “made up” at lunch and dinner, but will be left out completely that day.
Children who eat no breakfast are more likely to be overweight, snack on sweet and fatty foods, perform poorly in tasks requiring concentration, have shorter attention spans, achieve lower test scores, and be tardy or absent more often than their well-fed peers. Common sense tells us that it is unreasonable to expect anyone to study and learn when no fuel has been provided. Even children who have eaten breakfast suffer from distracting hunger by late morning. Chronically underfed children suffer more intensely.
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