Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is an important meal for growing children. Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have higher school attendance; better short-term memory and their overall test scores are higher as they are better able to concentrate. After waking up, blood sugar levels can drop quickly, and it is this sugar which the muscles and brain need to work at their best. Breakfast is like breaking the fast ­ – it kickstarts the metabolism and helps you burn more energy for the rest of the day.

In addition to better performance at school, children who eat a regular breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, get enough calcium for growing bones and they also have a lower chance of getting diabetes and heart disease as adults. Breakfast is an opportunity to get in as many nutrients as possible from healthy foods including dairy products, grains and fruits. It is one of the most important health habits so make sure that your children eat a nutritious breakfast at home or at school every day.


Here are some great ideas to start your child’s day the right way:

  • Vitamin-enriched oats or sorghum porridge made with milk and a few raisins
  • Vitamin-enriched corn or bran flakes with milk and sliced banana
  • A smoothie – blend vitamin-enriched sorghum porridge with milk, banana and a spoon of peanut butter
  • Peanut butter and sliced banana on a crumpet with a small glass of milk
  • Eggs or baked beans on seed toast
  • Home-made bran and banana muffin with a glass of milk


The PnP vitamin and iron-enriched breakfast cereals and porridges provide a wide range of important nutrients for children, including vitamin A, all the B vitamins, iron and zinc. It is of huge concern that in South Africa, approximately 1 in 10 children below the age of 14 have an iron deficiency, which can result in delayed growth and development and an increased susceptibility to infection.

Simply, eating a cup of vitamin and iron-enriched corn flakes, bran flakes or kids’ cereal with a cup of milk can provide:

  • Almost half of your child’s protein requirement for the day AND
  • A third of your child’s vitamin and mineral needs, including iron

If eating breakfast at home simply isn’t an option for your child, pack them a breakfast-to-go that they can eat on the way or when they get to school. Consider a variety of nutrient-dense snacks such as cereal, fruit, yoghurt or even throw these foods together in a blender with some ice and send it in a travel mug for them to sip on. You will not only be encouraging your children to eat nutritiously but fueling their growing bodies and minds for success.

Above all, the most important thing you can do to help your children develop healthy habits is to lead by example and be a good role model. Your children learn their health habits from you. If you eat a variety of healthy food and stay active, chances are that your children will too.

For more information on nutrition and health, contact the Pick n Pay dietitian via