This lesson helps young people understand the importance of breakfast. The youth will think about good food choices by discussing “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and singing The Breakfast Song.
Before facilitating this lesson, you may want to review the following information about the importance of breakfast for children. These facts can be shared with young people during your discussions.
- If young children learn important concepts about eating breakfast it will lay a foundation of eating right for years to come. Studies have shown that eating breakfast improves a child’s concentration and mental performance.
- Young people who skip breakfast are less focused and alert and often too tired to complete morning tasks.
- Young people who are hungry experience more learning difficulties as compared to well-nourished children.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that children who eat a healthful, well-balanced breakfast are more likely to:
- meet their daily nutrient requirements
- have better concentration
- have better problem-solving skills
- have better hand-eye coordination
- stay alert
- be creative
- miss fewer days of school
- be more physically active.
Activity: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Read the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
- After reading the book, talk with the young people about all the foods the caterpillar ate. These include apples, pears, oranges, plums and strawberries. Talk about how fruits are good, healthful foods that give our bodies energy. Then talk about all the junk foods the caterpillar ate, such as chocolate cake, ice cream and candy. What happened to the caterpillar after he ate those types of foods? Why?
- Ask young people to raise their hands if they had breakfast this morning. Let a few share what they ate.
- Tell the young people that today we will be talking about breakfast as one of the most important meals of the day. Breakfast is the first chance to get nourishing food into their bodies and their brains for a great start to the day.
- What does it mean to be hungry? Let the youth answer and have them give examples of how they feel and look when they are hungry. Explain that it would be hard to think, learn and play if they felt hungry and tired. That is how they may feel if they don’t eat breakfast.
Activity: Breakfast Song
Ask the youth what happens when we feed our body with nourishing foods for breakfast vs. eating no breakfast or a breakfast without healthful foods. Invite young people to stand to learn a song that will help us remember what foods to eat for breakfast to help our brains and our bodies start the day!
Teach young people the lyrics to the Breakfast Song.
Remind young people that what they eat in the morning has the power to energize them throughout the day. Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, so that families can continue discussing the importance of breakfast at home.
Related Health Powered Kids Blog
Rise and dine! The importance of a healthy breakfast
Additional Instructor Resources