3 Reasons to Stop Skipping Breakfast: Simple Meal Ideas Kids Will Love

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Nutrition: Health, Mealtime, Dear Karla

Dear Karla,
I've heard so many times that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," but I am the mother of three kids, all under seven years of age, and have to depart to work before they even wake up in the morning. This leaves my husband to take care of the morning breakfast routine and I have to confess, it is not that good sometimes. Do you have any information I can give him to help him see the value in serving our kids a healthy, nutritious breakfast? Also, I'd love some simple breakfast ideas, if you have some to share. Thanks, Brenda


Hi Brenda,
Breakfast is something we all know is crucial, but it's also an area that many families tend to struggle with. The business of life and hectic morning schedules, paired with the increased availability of convenient "grab and go" choices (which are usually quite unhealthy, of course), make it too easy for us to just grab a sugary toaster pastry on the way out the door, or even worse, to just skip breakfast all together. But skipping the most important meal of the day will harm your family in more ways than you might realize. Here are three reasons why breakfast is so vital for optimal health, and a few quick and healthy breakfast ideas for you to try...
1. You will eat less during the day
: If we skip breakfast, it is a solid guarantee that we will overeat at another point in the day -- and it will likely be something that our body could do without. Breakfast literally helps with weight loss and healthy weight control by keeping more stable blood sugar levels and kick-starting the metabolism early. While this is great news for mom and dad's waistline, it may also help to fight off childhood obesity by keeping your child's snacking in check.

2. Kids will score better grades: When we wake up, our energy stores are depleted by about 80 percent. This includes our brain, which uses 20 percent of our daily calories as energy alone. Just think -- we have gone 10 to 16 hours without eating and when we wake up, our brain is crying out for fuel. If we skip breakfast, the brain will undergo what I call "brain farts." Parents and kids alike will start forgetting things, will lose the ability to focus clearly, and will have considerable difficulty maintaining concentration. This will affect the performance of not just your child's grades, but their attention spans, too. Kids (like adults) get irritable when blood sugars have dropped too low.

3. Your cholesterol levels will drop: New research is finding those that eat breakfast have lower cholesterol values. One study reports that women who skipped breakfast for a two-week time period had higher total cholesterol (LDL -- bad cholesterol -- 15 percent higher and total cholesterol 8.5 percent higher).

Here are some simple breakfast ideas that anyone can tackle:
  • Blueberry-avocado smoothie
  • Apple raisin salad
  • Throw whole grain toast in the toaster and top with a natural nut butter and a few apple slices.
  • Crack an egg in a pan and mix in some salsa. Serve on top of whole wheat toast or roll up in a whole wheat tortilla for a quick and easy breakfast burrito.
  • Slice up a pear and banana and drizzle with some honey, and granola and top with walnuts and sunflower seeds.
  • In a bowl, mix one to two handfuls of dry whole grain cereal, add three to four tablespoons of yogurt (unsweetened) and sprinkle with blueberries or raspberries. Instant breakfast parfait!
  • Make a banana-nut breakfast roll-up: Spread nut butter onto a whole wheat tortilla, add raisins and a banana and roll it up!
Karla Heintz, B.Sc., is a nutrition educator and author of Picky? Not Me, Mom! A Parents' Guide to Children's Nutrition. If you have a question you would like answered please leave it in the comment section below. Thanks!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.