Do you go to school or work on an egg? Or is your go-to breakfast a bowl of cereal or slice of toast? Perhaps, if you’re like thousands of people around the country, you’ll skip breakfast altogether. After all, who has the time? What with getting the kids and yourself ready for the day, you’ve got better things to do. Right?
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
It isn’t a question of right or wrong, but it has long been recognised that a nutritious, healthy breakfast is important.
Evidence suggests that if children are hungry, they find it difficult to focus. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do. By satiating young appetites, and promoting healthy eating habits, school Breakfast Clubs have been proven to improve concentration, behaviour, attendance and, therefore, learning and attainment. After all, what we eat feeds our minds as well as our bodies.
If eating a healthy breakfast is so important, then just think of all the incredible benefits that healthy eating in general can bring. Of course, it’s a subject that’s very much on the menu at the moment. But what, exactly, does it mean?
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS
We’ve all heard of the Atkins, 5:2 and South Beach diets – while fashionable foods from kale to quinoa come and go – but conventional wisdom suggests that we should all aim to eat a balanced, Mediterranean-style diet. Think real food rather than processed, including a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables, plus moderate portions of carbohydrate, protein and good fats like nuts and olive oil. At the same time, salt and refined sugar should be eaten sparingly.
Of course, the amount we eat is as important as what we eat. We all need to weigh up the number of calories we consume with the energy we expend, either through exercise or to fuel our body’s basic, metabolic needs.
How often have we all been told that if we eat too much, or the wrong type of food, we will be at increased risk of obesity and chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes?
It may be a cliché, but children really do learn by example, and the sooner they are taught the benefits of eating a healthy diet, the more likely they are to carry that knowledge with them into adulthood.
APPETITE FOR CHANGE
It’s a weighty problem, and one that the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) is keen to address. In 2015, more than 7,500 nurseries, primary and secondary schools registered to take part in the BNF Healthy Eating Week which, this year, will take place from 13th to 17th June.
Hungry to learn more? Go to www.healthyeatingweek.org.uk to register and receive your Eatwell Guide. You will also find a wide range of downloadable resources, live cook-a-longs and exciting health challenges. Some of the site’s suggestions include inviting guests into school to run workshops, or organising trips to a local farm, food factory or restaurant. You could also ask your school canteen if they’d like to get involved by preparing special dishes or events during the week.
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