“A child who doesn’t eat breakfast or eats poorly, is more likely to lose focus during the first hours of class; he may suffer from hypoglycemic episodes or low blood sugar. He will perform poorly in class, especially in math, and may fall asleep”, explained professor Carlos Marina at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the European University of Madrid. Furthermore, Dr. Pich added that children who do not eat their morning meal are less likely to control their behavior, tend to have a bad attitude, to be defocused and have trouble learning. “If they did eat a good breakfast, they would undoubtedly have normal blood sugar levels and perform better at school”.
The “EnKind” study which references the “nutritional habits of the Spanish child and youth populations”, points out that 8% of Spanish children go to school without a proper breakfast, 32% eats a poor breakfast, and only 26% eats a full meal. According to Marina, children that attend school after barely or no eating in the morning, seem to be more nervous and restless. Parents in this case, should wake them up earlier and serve them a proper breakfast, while having enough time to calm them down before school. “Children must wake up earlier so that they can eat breakfast with their parents; children tend to mimic what adults do, if an adult skips a meal, so will they. In addition, some children don’t eat because they aren’t hungry. Perhaps dinner last night was too heavy. In this case, it is best to prepare them a healthy snack for the break or serve them a lighter dinner, as digestion tends to be slower at night”, suggested Dr. Pich, mentioning that eating excessively at dinner, and skipping breakfast in the morning could, “alter insulin levels”, (which lessens their attention span). Another alternative is to divide the morning meal into two, one in the morning and another at mid-morning, “this is perfect for those children who lack appetite during early mornings; they will eat less quantities but more spread out meals at different times”. This is an opinion shared by Carlos Marina, although this method should be consulted with a pediatrician or nutritionist, “as schools might have strict schedules regarding meals, and a second breakfast might collide with an early lunch, causing the child to be at risk of overeating”.
At the same time, having a better meal means drinking more fluids, essential for the body. A glass of milk or juice is indispensable before heading to school; this will give the child the necessary fluids, vitamins, minerals and fibers needed in the body.