Start your child’s day right with hearty whole grains

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When it comes to the first meal of the day, give your little one a healthy start with a breakfast packed with nutritious whole grains.

Mums and dads, our energy stores need some refueling after a good night’s sleep. Yet to many of us, having breakfast may seem like a hurdle in our hectic morning rush where we often go without a proper one.

Remember: breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it provides essential nourishment and the energy required to kick-start your day.

Just imagine what it’d be like attempting to start a car without any petrol? The day’s definitely going to be a struggle if you’re running on empty right from the start.

So, how do you best provide your family, especially your little one, with the fuel to get them up and running? Simple; with a healthy and wholesome breakfast that’s packed with energy and vital nutrients.

The ABCs of whole grains

A well-balanced breakfast should include the four main food groups: fruits and vegetables, meat and other protein foods (eg. tofu, eggs, lentils, beans, seafood), dairy, and grains – in particular whole grains.

While white bread and rice are the most common staples, there’s so much more to the humble whole grain due to its lifelong health benefits.

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Whole grains are rich in essential nutrients like dietary fiber, antioxidants, Vitamins B and E, iron, proteins - all of which are beneficial to your child’s mind and body.

Mums and dads, doesn’t this sound like an awesome package of natural goodness?

Including whole grains in your family’s diet: start with breakfast

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An easy way to boost your child’s day is to serve a bowl of whole grain breakfast cereals. A good breakfast improves brain function, memory, and concentration levels, which are closely linked to better grades.1

Other than performing better in school, breakfast eaters are also generally in better health, are more likely to have a more nutritious diet and sustain good eating habits later in life.

According to research conducted by the Harvard Public School of Health, the intake of whole grain cereal reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, coronary heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Individuals who consume high levels of whole grains also tend to have a healthier body weight – and are more likely to maintain it. Additionally, they also have better digestive health.2

Consuming whole grains also controls snacking as your child will feel fuller from the extra fiber.

However, the average child still has a long way to go when it comes to meeting the daily-recommended intake of whole grains. Only 6% of children in Singapore consume the US-recommended intake of 48 grams of whole grain daily.

How to introduce whole grains into kids’ meals

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Here are some creative tips on building a healthy plate with whole grains, inspired by these easy-to-prepare breakfast foods for your child:

  • Start your kids off right by exposing them to foods such as whole wheat bread/crackers and breakfast cereals with whole grains as the No. 1 ingredient, at an early age.
  • Let your child pick what to have for breakfast: like a selection of cereal and toppings (eg. bananas, yogurts, or granolas).
  • For older kids who are not used to eating whole grains, introduce them gradually and explain to them what the benefits are.
  • Bond with your child over food by using whole grain ingredients in baking their favourites, like banana bread, whole grain muffins, or even mix things up with popcorn!
  • Let your child determine the breakfast menu schedule: Mondays are fruity yogurt crisp days, Tuesdays are cereal with strawberries and so on.
  • Make weekend breakfasts special by having whole grain tortilla wraps or cereal fruit bars!

You can also watch the video below to discover how you can incorporate whole grains in your child’s diet.

Happy, healthy eating, mums and dads!

 

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2www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/whole-grains/