Majority of Canadian kids not getting a balanced breakfast, survey finds

Caitlin McCormack
Caitlin McCormack
Shine On

Study after study has shown breakfast to be the most important meal of the day and the positive impact that comes from eating a balanced morning meal, yet many people still don't make time to eat breakfast in the morning.

A recent study commissioned by Nutella has found that while 71% of Canadian moms believe they're giving their children a balanced breakfast each day, in reality, only about 36% actually know what constitutes a healthy breakfast per Canada's Food Guide.

According to Canada's Food Guide, a balanced breakfast should include foods from at least three of the four food groups.

The Nutella Breakfast Report also found that 90% of moms want their children to have a balanced breakfast, believing its importance in enhancing their mood, grades, and ability to participate in physical activity, but that 29% say their kids have missed breakfast at least once in the past school week.

Of those surveyed, only 41% say they eat breakfast at home and only 36% eat breakfast together as a family, with the majority (66%) of moms saying their kids are eating breakfast in just 15 minutes or less.

The survey found that moms say the top five barriers to getting their kids to eat a healthy breakfast are: a need for more breakfast ideas their kids will like (57%); their kids are picky eaters (44%); they lack time to prepare food in the morning (26%); kids say they aren't hungry; and their kids have different tastes or likes.

[See also: Why parents should put down their cell phones]

If you're looking for healthy breakfast ideas, Alexis Williams, Registered Dietitian and director, health & wellness for Loblaw Companies Limited offers the following suggestions.

Breakfast roll up: Spread some nut butter (or low-fat cream cheese if your home is nut-free) on a whole grain tortilla. Drizzle some honey or maple syrup, granola or bran cereal for crunch, and add a sprinkle of ground flax seed and chopped dried fruit. You can also use sliced banana or apple instead if you prefer. Roll it up and you've got a one-handed breakfast that's ready in 5 minutes.

Breakfast banana split: Peel a banana and slice in half lengthwise; place each half on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with your favourite yogurt, cereal, raspberries and chocolate chips for a special morning treat that features a balance of protein and fibre.

Greek yogurt parfait: Layer your favourite plain Greek yogurt, mixed berries (or other favourite fruit) and a fibre-rich cereal or granola for a quick and easy morning meal that can even be prepared the night before.

Skillet baked eggs and beans: This recipe is a bit more involved, ideal for lazy weekend mornings. "It's hard to get vegetables at breakfast and this breakfast combined unique foods that we should all eat more of," said Williams.

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