BREAKFAST is often a quick grab and go meal – especially when you have teenagers.
But new research warns that not eating breakfast at home could have dire consequences for your child’s behavioural health.
Scientists in Spain have found young people who eat their first meal of the day at home, rather than out and about, tend to have fewer behavioural problems.
The nationwide study quizzed almost 4,000 parents of four to 14-year-olds on their child’s breakfast habits and psychosocial health.
They looked at mood, self esteem and anxiety levels, alongside what exactly a child was scoffing for breakfast, and where they ate it.
Dr. José Francisco López-Gil of the University of Castilla-La Mancha and his team, found that eating breakfast out of the house was nearly as damaging and detrimental as skipping it completely.
They put it largely down to the fact breakfasts made and laid on at home are likely to be healthier and more nutrient-rich than those bought in a rush on the way to school.
But what does make for a hearty, mood-boosting breakfast for your little one?
The researchers discovered that coffee, milk, tea, chocolate, cocoa, yoghurt, bread, toast, cereals, and pastries were all associated with lower chances of behavioural problems.
So next time your child begs for chocolate croissants or Nutella on toast, they may have a point.
Meanwhile protein-rich brekkies that featured eggs, cheese and ham were surprisingly linked with higher risks.
Ham in particular can be highly processed, as can bacon, so steering clear of daily bacon sarnies may be a wise move.
Dr López-Gil added: “Our findings reinforce the need to promote not only breakfast as part of a healthy lifestyle routine, but also that it should be eaten at home.
“Also, to prevent psychosocial health problems, a breakfast that includes dairy and/or cereals, and minimizes certain animal foods high in saturated fat/cholesterol, could help to decrease psychosocial health problems in young people.”
It might not just be the quality of food at home that makes the difference to young people’s mental and social health, but also the benefits of sharing a meal as a family, and the support given at breakfast time.