The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: 10 Reasons to Encourage Breakfast

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Reasons to Encourage Breakfast

You've heard it before - Breakfast provides a strong start to your children's day.  But have you ever thought about the reasons why you should plan a few extra minutes in the morning for a hearty breakfast?  Here are ten...
  1. Boost blood sugar to your brain. After 8-10 hours of no food, your brain needs a boost of glucose to jump start its engine.  That's why the first meal of the day is break-fast!  Without this fresh supply of glucose, your children won't be able to process the information their teachers present in the first few classes of the day.  Most carbohydrates contain glucose, but choose complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain and bran cereals, to give your children brain energy throughout the morning.
  2. Add nutrients to your body. Most breakfast cereals are fortified with essential nutrients that the body can store throughout the day and use as needed.  Nutrients such as folate, B-vitamins, iron, fiber, and other nutrients help the body use its energy efficiently. Without these helpers, the carbohydrates could create an energy spike, making your children energy deficient by mid-morning.
  3. Lower cholesterol. Studies show that people who skip breakfast have higher cholesterol levels.  Start now to show your children the proper way to help their heart later in life.
  4. Decrease risk of diabetes and obesity. Breakfast helps prevent many metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.  Eating a hearty breakfast early in the day helps children's metabolism throughout the rest of the day.
  5. Discourage anorexia. An Australian study found that thirteen-year-old girls who did not eat breakfast were more likely to become anorexic and have other eating distorders.  Skipping a meal to control weight is very unproductive becuase the teens tend to graze on the wrong foods like donuts later in the day.
  6. Develop healthy skin. Tell your teens that eggs contain lutein, which helps protect the skin's elasticity.   Eggs are packed with nutrients like zinc that are good for acne. 
  7. Feel good! Emotionally, eating breakfast will give you a better view of the world and your body. Add blueberries to your pancakes or cereal.  They are a natural feel-good food because they contain so many antioxidants.
  8. Balance your daily intake.  If you eat three meals a day plus an occasional snack between meals, you have achieved food balance.  If your children eliminate breakfast because they're late for the bus, they must cram all their nutrients into two meals plus snacks.  This leads to chronic overeating in the long run and low energy early in the day.
  9. Boost immune system. A study in the Netherlands indicated that people who eat breakfast have a stronger immune system to combat the common cold and other virus-borned diseases.  Without going into all the technical explanation for their findings, let it suffice to say that they noticed a 17% drop in attendance at work due to illness for adults who did not eat breakfast.  That means that children who do not eat breakfast are more likely to lose thirty days of school each year!
  10. Live longer. Another study showed that people who lived to be 100 years old were consistent breakfast eaters.  If you cancel out other problems like smoking and drinking, by simply eating a hearty breakfast, your children will live long enough to help you in your senior years!
Remember, sugary cereals and pop tarts are not acceptable substitutes for a healthy breakfast choice. Here are two recipes from my other website for make-ahead breakfasts that you can serve all week long:  The Christmas breakfast casserole has been a favorite of my family's for over thirty years and the hearty healthy oatmeal casserole lasts for many days and can be reheated as needed.

For more information, read this book: SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults
And for tips on HOW to encourage kids to eat breakfast, see my other blogpost:

Added 12-5-12:  I just found more evidence that eating a healthy breakfast contributes to our ability to make good decisions:

Happy parenting!

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