Guest article by Sam Hadadi
From piling our plates with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and Lucy Bee-style towers of pancakes, we’re all for breakfasting like Kings.
Far from a ritual saved for the weekends, we always make time for the first meal of the day – even if we’re on the go. You see, that age-old advice of starting your day right means that you’re ready to face the world, feeling energised, happy and healthy.
If you’re a mum or dad, then you’ll also know that getting your kids to enjoy a healthy meal first thing is crucial to their development. And now, new research has backed up the argument mums have up and down the country each day – children who eat breakfast are more likely to perform well in school.
Whether they enjoy a rainbow smoothie, a bowlful of porridge and honey, or homemade granola and yoghurt, here’s why it’s crucial to get your kids off to a good start each day:
We’ve thought it for years, but here’s some handy new research to back us up - children who eat breakfast before school are twice as likely to score well in tests at the age of 11 than those who start their day on an empty stomach.
In a study of 5,000 nine to 11-years-olds (carried out by Cardiff University), scientists found the first proper link between eating breakfast and academic performance.
However, before piling on the Nutella, there is a downside to this - eating unhealthy treats, including sweets and crisps for breakfast (which, shockingly, one in five children do) does not have any positive effect.
The study was carried out in 100 Welsh primary schools and looked at the link between breakfast and performance in Key Stage Two teacher assessments six or 18 months later.
As you now know, breakfast was a key factor in getting the best out of children. Yet the researchers also found that eating little and often throughout the day (even including sweets and crisps, as well as fruit and veg) also sent academic performance and concentration levels soaring.
Get packing that lunchbox…
Worryingly, this study is proving rather timely, with all suggestions pointing towards Chancellor George Osborne squeezing school budgets (and therefore breakfast clubs and free school meals) during next week’s spending review. Apparently, the PM David Cameron is against scrapping free meals, but how could this possible cut affect our children’s health?
As Hannah Littlecott, lead author of the study, warned: “While breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with general health outcomes and acute measures of concentration and cognitive function, evidence regarding links to concrete educational outcomes has until now been unclear.
“This study therefore offers the strongest evidence yet of links between aspects of what pupils eat and how well they do at school, which has significant implications for education and public policy research - pertinent in light of rumours that free school meals may be scrapped following George Osborne’s November spending review.”
It all sounds rather promising, doesn’t it? Simply fuel your child right, and you can see them reach for the stars.
Yet we know it’s not always so easy – especially when it comes to fussy eaters! If you’re looking for some healthy, delicious breakfast ideas, then here1 are some Lucy Bee favourites, guaranteed to please even the trickiest of taste buds.
You could also try stealing some of our top tips for healthy family eating2 (we’ve been there – we know it isn’t always easy!) and healthy snacking3 to keep them fuelled for the whole school day. Eat up!
You can read further on this in The Independent
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.