It’s often referred to as the most important meal of the day (in fact, for Winnie the Pooh, it was the first thing he said to himself each morning – remember?), and in coverage about breakfast clubs in schools this week, there were plenty of reminders of why.
Tuesday brought news of a poll of 500 teachers, four out of five of whom said they’d seen children arriving at school who hadn’t eaten any breakfast. Asked why, and most cited money troubles or a lack of interest from parents. Read how the poll was reported by the Guardian and the BBC here. We liked this blog from Fareshare’s Lindsey Boswell, reflecting on the poll and on the fast-growing issues surrounding food poverty in the UK on World Food Day.
When you wake up, your body hasn’t had any fuel for several hours. Breakfast gives you the energy you need to get your brain going again, so that you’re alert and more able to concentrate – whatever your age!
Some of our favourite breakfast tips for children:
- Base their breakfasts on starchy foods like bread or cereal – wholegrain varieties release energy more slowly, which means they’ll keep them going for longer
- If you’re a childcare provider for under-fives and you offer them breakfast, we recommend you give them a portion of fruit with their breakfast every day. Find tips on how to do this and lots more on good breakfasts for under-fives on our Eat Better, Start Better pages
- Our studies comparing exam results at schools with breakfast clubs to those at schools without found pupils got better results where healthy breakfasts were on offer
- School food standards give schools lots of guidance on how to offer healthy breakfasts at breakfast club, to fuel up children for the morning
- Try muesli or porridge with low fat milk; yoghurt and a handful of dried or fresh fruit; wholegrain toast with tomatoes and mushrooms; or peanut butter or baked beans on wholegrain toast
- Add a glass of fresh fruit juice – this gives children vitamin C to absorb more of the iron from cereals.
So how do we make sure that every child is getting a good breakfast to start the day? How can schools and early years settings help – and what help do they need in turn? Those questions will be well and truly on the agenda at our next Children’s Food Conference on 19th March in London. Carmel McConnell, from the charity Magic Breakfast, will be joining us to speak about their work. Can’t wait to hear the debate!
Claire’s our Media and Communications Manager. Email Claire.