Here are some suggestions in order to make breakfast one of the main meals of the day:
What do your children eat for breakfast? How long does it take them to eat their food? Perhaps many of us will answer that during the school week, breakfast often becomes a pitched battle. As we ask our sleepy children to abandon the comfort of their beds in order to get ready, we end up following them around with a glass of warm chocolate milk. We spill the milk along the way and ultimately, they won’t even drink half of it.
Many hours of fasting or an insufficient intake of nutrients at breakfast, will make children feel tired, lack energy, remain unfocused during class, and prevent them from performing well at school. Then, they might resort to eating junk food and candy during breaks. Unfortunately if this becomes a habit, they could end up suffering from nausea, blurred vision, and low hypoglycemic levels that could lead to a development in obesity later on.
On the other hand, a substantial meal at breakfast promotes healthy blood sugar levels and provides the body with sufficient energy for a great performance at school. This will also permit the child to fully develop and grow. In other words, breakfast should include dairy, protein, vitamins, fibers, carbohydrates, and a sufficient amount of healthy fats that are transformed into “fuel,” allowing the body to operate successfully.
Even though, the total amount of calories a child needs depends on their age, height, and weight, it is important to know their appropriate daily calorie intake, and also the calorie percentage intake during each meal. Therefore, the distribution of a child’s calorie intake must be done as follows:
Critical and sensitive periods
In terms of cognitive development, we can distinguish several sensitive and critical developmental stages during which a special type of environmental stimulus facilitates the process. A critical stage is a relatively short period that starts and ends at quite precise moments. During this period, the body is vulnerable to influences like those caused by certain aspects of nutrition. Such examples are the negative effects triggered by an iron or iodine deficiency in the initial stages of brain development. During a critical stage, these is an increased sensitivity to environmental stimuli; however, if there is no stimulus, then it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, that an aspect of the brain performance be expressed later in life. Therefore, if malnutrition hinders metabolical processes at a certain age, there is the risk of a long-term side effect on cognition.
On the other hand, a sensitive period is seen as a window of opportunities in which the brain is sensitive to a certain type of stimuli. For example, language is much more easily acquired during the first ten years of life. Although particular functional aspects are gained without difficulty during a sensitive period, an ability can still be achieved at a later age, albeit not as easily and not at the same level of competence and good command.
The alleged differences between sensitive and critical stages of development are usually subtle, and the stated appreciations vary from one worker to another, and according to discipline. Some of them noticed that children fall short at a certain developmental stage if they lack the stimulation characteristic to a critical window of opportunities. At the opposite end, others believe that there are only sensitive periods, and that a lack of stimulation does not produce difficulties which could not be overcome later, even with a greater effort.
At least, as far as nutrition is concerned, there is good evidence regarding the critical stages of development. As the brain develops rapidly during pregnancy, an inadequate diet can limit the development of important aspects related to brain structure. The argument is that, since it is the mother’s diet that provides the nutrient blocks from which the baby’s brain is made, if during a period of fast brain growth an aspect of nutrition is inappropriate, permanent brain damage can occur.Read More
Different nutrients play various roles in the development of the brain. Some of these are iodine, iron, zinc, choline, vitamin B12, folate and vitamin D. When it comes to behavioral and cognitive development, people in industrialized countries tend to see diet as both the cause and an important solution of the problems. For example, in the United Kingdom, 32 percent of boys under the age of 10, 23 percent of girls under 7 and 16 percent of girls between 7 and 14 years of age take supplements that contain vitamins and minerals. Apparently, people in general are worried about dietary deficiencies.
It is too simple and superficial to say that diet has a critical role in brain development and, consequently, in intellectual functioning. The brain, like all the other body parts, is composed of protein, lipid, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals supplied through diet. As the brain grows more quickly than the rest of the body, it is obvious that a dietary deficiency in a critical developmental stage could result in long-term changes in brain structure, and thus in its functioning. Moreover, the brain is the most metabolically active organ, despite having limited energy reserves. Therefore, it depends on the diet to provide it with a continuous supply of glucose. Similarly, minute after minute, the functioning of the brain requires an adequate supply of micro nutrients that act as coenzymes or are part of the structure of the enzymes required for an optimal metabolic activity.
Therefore, diet is responsible with providing the necessary substances of which the brain is composed and which play the role of fuel that the brain uses to function. Either way, the mentioned analysis proves that diet has the power to influence intellectual functioning: the important question is how often, if ever, is diet so deficient that could result in the apparition of a problem, to what extent are interventions needed in developing countries and whether the concern shown by parents in industrialized countries is legitimate or if it implies a problem whose obvious psychological and medical solutions have been ignored.Read More