Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is just as important for children as it is for adults. The first meal of the day sets the stage for the rest of the day and helps children form good lifetime eating habits. Skipping breakfast, or eating the wrong kinds of foods, sets children up for hyperactivity, poor brain function and bad moods. Giving children a quality breakfast is one of the healthiest things you can do and will set them up for a good day.

The typical breakfast of cereal and milk is high in carbohydrates, which can raise insulin levels as well as serotonin, setting children up for a mid-day crash, decreased concentration and low energy. Instead, make it a point to serve protein with breakfast, which will keep their blood sugar levels steady and allow optimal cognitive function throughout the day. Focused, steady energy allows children to engage in learning and concentrate, rather than having unsteady energy spikes and lows.

If your child is a picky eater or hesitant to change their breakfast habits, start negotiating. Instead of taking away their favorite breakfast cereal let them have it at another time of day and focus on including protein into the first meal of the day. A healthy breakfast tends to lead to healthier choices throughout the day. Making a high quality breakfast doesn’t have to be time consuming and many options can even be made in advance. Here are some simple ways to start creating healthy breakfast habits.