Recently a parent asked for suggestions on getting there child to eat breakfast. Here is a great article that was recently in Healthy Children Magazine (AAP approved). To read the full article click on link at the bottom. Here are some great suggestions:
In reality however, skipping breakfast is more likely to cause weight gain than it is to prevent it. A 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics found that adolescents who ate breakfast daily had a lower body mass index than teens who never ate breakfast or only on occasion.
Ironically, the breakfast eaters even ate more calories, fiber, and cholesterol in their overall diets compared to the kids who skipped breakfast. But the kids who ate breakfast also had diets with less saturated fat. “We know that the biggest predictor of overeating is undereating,” Dr. Schneider says. “Many of these kids skip breakfast and lunch, but then go home and don’t stop eating.”
Eating breakfast also has ramifications on school performance. “Study after study shows that kids who eat breakfast function better,” Dr. Schneider says. “They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.”
Children who eat breakfast are generally in better health overall, a fact that may be attributed to the types of food often associated with the morning meal. Breakfast provides a golden opportunity to fortify your teen with nutrients that can easily fall by the wayside the rest of the day. “Breakfast is a great time to consume fiber in the form of cereals and whole wheat breads,” Dr. Cochran says. Fiber can help with weight control and has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
Breakfast is also an opportunity to feed your child bonebuilding calcium and vitamin D. Kids enter their peak bonebuilding years in adolescence and continue building bone into their early 20s. Although vitamin D is best known for its role in promoting the absorption of calcium, new studies show vitamin D may also boost immunity and help prevent infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer and diabetes. As a result, the AAP recently doubled its recommended vitamin D intake from 200 IUs a day to 400 IUs.
Exposure to the sun triggers the skin to produce vitamin D, but experts generally caution against relying on the sun for vitamin D — too much sun raises the risk for skin cancer. Instead, experts recommending getting vitamin D from foods, including eggs and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, milk, and yogurt — all perfect for the morning meal. Vitamin D is also found in salmon, tuna, and other types of seafood. Kids who do not get enough vitamin D from food should consider taking a supplement.
With weight gain and obesity becoming a major public health concern, experts agree that the push to get teens to the breakfast table is an important one. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of the nation’s adolescents aged 12 to 19 are overweight or obese, which sets the stage for serious future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
So how do you get your teen to chow down in the A.M.? Start by setting an earlier bedtime, which helps ensure that your child will get up in time to eat something. Then make breakfast a priority in your home. Ideally, the whole family can sit down together for breakfast, a practice that should start well before the teen years. “Families that eat together tend to eat healthier,” Dr. Cochran says. “It also gives parents the chance to act as role models in terms of nutrition and eating behaviors.”
If mornings are too difficult to orchestrate a sit-down meal, try having some easy-to-go breakfast foods available for your child. Good options include yogurt, granola bars, dried cereal, breakfast bars, fresh fruit, and dried fruit. Let her take it and eat it on the way to school if possible, or encourage her to go to school and buy breakfast, which most schools now make available. “Ideally, a breakfast should have all the food groups represented,” Dr. Schneider says. But anything nutritious they grab on their way out the door works. “What’s important is that they get some healthy carbohydrates, which provide energy,” says Dr. Schneider.One beverage that kids should omit from their morning meal: coffee and energy drinks. While the craving for a quick pick-me-up is certainly understandable, caffeine raises blood pressure and heart rate in teens, Dr. Schneider says.
Quick Tips: A Healthy Breakfast on the FlyThere’s no getting around the truth: Adolescents are often in a hurry, and mornings are no exception. While a sit-down breakfast made up of the four basic food groups is the ideal, a grab-and-go breakfast item is the next best thing. Such sources of carbohydrates (good energy for teens) as these should be in your teen’s possession as he or she dashes out the door on a school morning:
- Granola bars
- Breakfast bars
- Dried fruit
- Fresh fruit
- Dry cereal
**This article was featured in Healthy Children Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.
Thanks to the AAP/healthychildren.org for the link