Dr Alan Barclay
Smart carbs for smarter kids
Most parents know that for peak performance, it’s vital that children and teenagers eat a good breakfast before they head off to school. Now, there’s growing evidence that along with providing essential nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre plus vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron), making this healthy breakfast a low GI one brings extra benefits. In fact, this is where low GI carbs really deliver the ‘smarts’ improving mental performance during those difficult tasks like maths tests!
When UK researchers recently investigated the effects of meals of varying overall GI values and carbohydrate content on 60 students aged 11–14 years, they found that the kids who ate a low GI/higher carbohydrate breakfast completed the maths tasks faster and more accurately and improved their general reasoning skills and their overall attentiveness. In fact, the low GI, higher carbohydrate meal helped kids excel in the four hardest tests examined. Earlier studies with younger children and adolescents have reported similar results.
The brain boosting power of the low GI/higher carb meal isn’t really surprising as we know that glucose is the brain’s primary fuel source and it needs a steady supply of it throughout the day. Eating that healthy low GI breakfast provides the brain with a more constant level of blood glucose compared with the highs and lows of a high GI breakfast. So, here’s how you can kick start your children’s day every day of the week with a healthy low GI breakfast to truly nourish and sustain them.
7 easy low GI breakfasts
For more breakfast ideas, check out Anneka Manning’s 14 easy-to-prepare low GI brekkies including the irresistible Eggs in Nests in The Low GI Family Cookbook.
- Fruit bread (e.g. Burgen Fruit and Muesli) with a smear of margarine and a little of a favourite spread (e.g. jam/honey) plus a glass of fat reduced or low fat milk
- Wholegrain, low GI breakfast cereals (e.g., Kellogg’s Sustain or Guardian) with
- reduced or low fat milk and fruit
- Natural muesli (e.g., Morning Sun) with reduced or low fat milk (e.g. Dairy Farmers Skim)
- Low GI bread (e.g. Tip Top 9 Grain; Burgen) with a smear of margarine and a favourite spread (jam/marmalade/Vegemite/peanut butter/etc.)
- Low GI bread with baked beans
- Low GI bread with a smear of margarine and a poached or scrambled egg (or a boiled egg with ‘soldiers’)
- Plain or diet yoghurt with fresh, canned or dried fruit
The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices
For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037