The best health habits often start young

Getting children to develop good health habits from a young age can be beneficial in many different ways. Teaching them the importance of exercise and eating right are just a couple ways that parents have the chance to set their children up for a better life. One recent study shows that parents must help their children learn how to make the right choices at breakfast, or else they will be at a higher risk for the harmful effects of metabolic syndrome.

The research, which was conducted at the Family Medicine Unit within Umeå University's Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, revealed that children who ate poor breakfasts or didn't eat at all had a increased chance of suffering from health concerns such as abdominal obesity, increased levels of harmful triglycerides, low amounts of protective high-density lipoprotein, high blood pressure and fasting blood glucose levels. Teaching children how to eat well in the morning is something that parents have to make a higher priority in the household.

"Further studies are required for us to be able to understand the mechanisms involved in the connection between poor breakfast and metabolic syndrome, but our results and those of several previous studies suggest that a poor breakfast can have a negative effect on blood sugar regulation," said Maria Wennberg, the study's main author.

Eating a healthy breakfast is easy
Many parents believe it is a struggle to provide their children with healthy options for breakfast that they will love. But in reality, it's a lot easier than parents think. It's important to remember that a solid breakfast can be the catalyst to a great day at school and other activities.  

"You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein," Erica Giovinazzo, a nutritionist at Clay Health Club and Spa, in New York City, told Health.com.

Having some simple ideas in mind can allow parents to get a little bit more creative with their breakfast choices for their kids. Here is a list of some recommendations from Health.com that parents should keep in mind for their child's a.m. meal:

  • Oatmeal: This breakfast option is as old as dirt, and it is still is one of the healthiest things that children can eat in the morning. However, it's important not to buy the sweetened type. Parents can add a little flavor to oatmeal with milk, honey, fruit and nuts.
  • Bananas: There is a lot that parents can do with bananas to turn them into a complete breakfast. Adding them to cereal or slicing them up with peanut butter is a great way to help kids get the potassium they need.
  • Eggs: With scrambled, over-easy, sunny side up, and several other methods of preparation, eggs are a versatile breakfast option. Children need lean proteins to prepare for each day, and eggs are the answer in the morning.

Martial arts is also a good habit to start young
Just like eating a healthy breakfast, parents should consider getting their children involved in martial arts classes during their youth. Not only will kids be able to learn self-defense skills that can become second nature, they will also be able to develop their brains during their training. Taking Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Tae Kwon Do class requires extreme focus and dedication, and when kids are able to learn these lessons at a young age, it can better prepare them for their adolescent and adult years.

Starting martial arts early in life is also worthwhile for children because this activity can help kids get the physical exercise they need and understand how to use different parts of their body. Learning hand/eye coordination at a young age is a great way to succeed in athletics in the future.