Posted on 21st June 2012
It is said to be the most important meal of the day, and personally I love breakfast; in fact the promise of breakfast plays a large part in my desire to get out of bed in the morning. The thought of some fresh fruit mixed together with yoghurt, seeds and a spoonful of granola is enough to have me leaping out from under the duvet. I’ve never understood how so many people can skip breakfast and not eat any proper food until lunchtime. However, it seems that thousands of schoolchildren in the UK don’t eat a proper breakfast before school in the morning, which is causing a great deal of problems, and there are major calls to help the situation.
Breakfast is vital because it sets you up for the day, and gives you the energy to be able to concentrate and work efficiently and effectively. As Dr Clare Gerada from the Royal College of GPs quite rightly told the BBC, “I’m quite upset that children are going to school hungry. How are children going to learn if they are hungry?” Moreover, according to GPs, children who have a poor diet (which includes not eating a nutritionally balanced diet) are more likely to develop diseases such as anaemia and not grow and develop properly.
I have a number of friends who are schoolteachers who have told me how concerned they are about the number of children who turn up to school hungry, or just having had some crisps or sweets for breakfast. This not only means that the children can’t concentrate, but also means that the teachers need to cope with pupils who are distracted and unfocussed. The Guardian recently did a survey asking teachers about their students’ eating habits and whether they had ever given their pupils food. Steve Iredale, a teacher from Barnsley, told the Guardian, “We have all done it, in all types of school. You find a way: keep biscuits in the office, bread in the office. Occasionally you see a distressed child who is hungry.”
A number of associations are trying to get ministers to provide free breakfasts for all schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds. There are a number of charities already in place, which provide food for children before school in poor areas, but as things stand, free breakfasts are not terribly widespread. A spokesman from the Department of Education has acknowledged that a good breakfast can, “improve children’s attendance and motivation”, so hopefully they will take steps to make sure that more children eat a healthy meal first thing in the morning. As well as providing free breakfasts, I think schools should do more to educate pupils about the importance of a balanced diet and eating three good meals a day.
If you’re in need of re-vamping your, or your child’s breakfast, here are some suggestions:
-Sugar free muesli with fresh berries and/or chopped banana
-Porridge with honey, cinnamon and seeds sprinkled over the top
-Scrambled eggs on brown or rye bread
-Yoghurt with granola and dries fruit and nuts
-A homemade smoothie with fruit, yoghurt, milk and a spoonful of oats
-Brown bread with almond butter (healthier and more unusual than peanut butter)
-Homemade savoury muffins
Try to include a mixture of fresh fruit, carbohydrates and protein and you’ll be all fired up and ready to go for the rest of the morning!