Common Questions About Breakfast & Children Fresh Baby co-founder Cheryl Tallman answers some common questions on the proper amounts of your child’s a.m. eating and what constitutes a good breakfast. BY CHERYL TALLMAN
Give your kids energy by starting them off with a healthy diet.
It's a fact, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have proven that children who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in school, have more energy and are less likely to be overweight.
A healthy breakfast should include four types of food: protein, fruits or vegetables, grains and calcium.
Why proteins? From our head to our toes, protein is in every cell of the body and we need it every day. For adults, protein is broken down and used to repair our bodies, but children use it to grow bigger and stronger.
How much does your child need? Young children (age 1-10 years old) need between 16 to 28 grams of protein per day, depending on their age, gender and activity level. A good goal to aiming for every morning is about 6-9 grams of protein to get off to a better start.
What are some good sources of protein? Common breakfast foods that include a good dose of protein include:
1 large egg
6 grams or 1 slice of bacon
3 grams? or 2 ounces of ham
12 grams? or 1 cup of milk
8 grams of soy milk (maybe slightly less—read the label)
3/4 cup or 5 grams of yogurt
1 ounce or 6 grams?of soft cheese
8 grams or?2 Tablespoons of peanut butter
6-9 grams or 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds What about fruits or vegetables? "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!" Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients to keep your child healthy and growing strong. Fruits and vegetables of different colors contain different nutrients, so it is best to eat a colorful range.
How much does your child need? Young children (2-6 years old) should eat three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. Older children (over age 6), should have three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit. It is recommended that only one of the daily fruit servings come from juice.
What about fruit and vegetable serving sizes? 1 medium whole fruit (apple, pear, banana),?1/2 cup of chopped fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1/4 cup of dried fruit, 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
Are grains essential to a good breakfast? Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides the body with energy. Along with other vitamins and nutrients, grains also provide us with fiber which helps the body digest foods and fight disease. It is recommended that at least half of your daily grains should be whole.
Choosing whole grains is easy. Read the labels on breads and cereals. For the most part, "whole-grain" food products will list the words "whole" or "whole grain" before the name (for example, whole wheat bread).
How much does your child need? Children ages 2-8 should get 3-5 ounces of grains per day, half should come from whole grains.
What are some good whole-grain breakfast foods? These common breakfast foods are a great source to start your child’s day.
1.oz or 1 slice of whole wheat breads and muffins
1 oz. or 1 buckwheat pancake or waffle
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1/2 cup ?of whole grain cereal
1/2 cup of granola
What about calcium? Everyone knows that calcium builds strong teeth and bones. It is very important to children, because their teeth and bones are growing. Recent studies indicate that as many as 50 percent of all children are not getting enough calcium in their diet.
So how much does my child need? Your child's need for calcium increases as they grow. Here are the guidelines:
Age 1-3 need 500 mg per day.
Age 4-8 need 800mg per day.
Age 9-to-18 need 1300 mg per day.
Milk is the best source, because it also contains vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. An 8-ounce glass of milk has 300 mg of calcium, and one cup of yogurt has 400 mg of calcium. If your child is not a milk drinker or has a dairy allergy, there are plenty of other food sources for calcium such as soymilk, oranges, broccoli and salmon that you can substitute.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the "So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week" and "So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years." Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com to sign up for her newsletter and her blog feed.