In Canada, one of every five children is at risk of starting the school day on an empty stomach due to a lack of access to nutritious food. That means that nearly one million Canadian children are at risk of getting nothing to eat before they go to school in the morning.
This is not only alarming, but also something that I feel truly requires our attention as parents, and as a society. As I urge my children to finish their breakfasts in the morning, I’m caught thinking about this statistic. I think about it when they turn up their nose at the food options I present, or leave the table without finishing their meal. I think about it after they’ve left for school, as I scrape food remnants from their plates and bowls into the garbage bin.
Sounds familiar, mamas? I know it does.
A generation ago, my own mother chastised my brother and me for skipping breakfast; she reminded us how lucky we were to have the opportunity to go to school on a full stomach. At the time, I placated her – just as my kids do now – scarfing down my meal to avoid a lecture.
Today, I realize that it’s about more than just food waste and rumbling tummies. I know there are real benefits to going to school nourished, including heightened concentration and learning potential. And, when you realize that 60% of learning happens before lunch, it becomes clear why breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day.
In fact, according to Breakfast Club of Canada, when children get a balanced meal in a positive, stimulating environment, there are marked improvements in:
– Behaviour and concentration
– Academic performance
– Social skills, self-confidence and the ability to interact with peers and adults
– Overall interest in the subjects being taught
– Incidents of bullying
For 20 years, Breakfast Club of Canada has been nourishing students’ potential by making sure as many as possible have access to a healthy morning meal before school, in an environment that allows their self-esteem to grow and flourish. To bring attention to the cause, Minute Maid has partnered with Breakfast Club of Canada to help kids rise and shine for success at school. Through the partnership, Minute Maid has donated 100% Orange and Apple Juice to nearly 1,500 Breakfast Club School Programs that serve over 25 million free breakfasts annually.
With the new school year well underway, shining a light on the importance of a balanced breakfast could not be timelier. November 2, 2016 is Minute Maids Breakfast Day in Canada. Every Canadian can participate; you can volunteer at your local Breakfast Club of Canada program, or start a new Breakfast Club at your child’s school. Every $1 Breakfast Club of Canada raises provides breakfast for one student for one day.
This school year, my goals begin with breakfast. I’ll endeavor to offer my children nourishing foods, eliminate food waste, and most importantly, help them understand the importance of starting the day with the proper nourishment to fuel their minds and bodies.
Visit www.breakfastclubcanada.org for more information on Breakfast Club of Canada.
This post is sponsored by Minute Maid on behalf of Coca-Cola Canada. I have received special perks in the form of product and/or compensation for my involvement. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.