by Christina DiMartino
A breakfast of champions may not sound appealing to your child, but according to Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee, it is the most important meal of the day for the entire family.
Dave Freidenberg, M.D., an emergency physician, and Deanna Chew-Freidenberg, Ph.D., a medical research statistician and consultant, are hosts of Advice with Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee, where they offer advice on health, medicine, relationships, families and more. One concerned viewer wrote to them asking for breakfast advice.
“My two teenagers are always running late for the school bus, so they leave the house without breakfast,” the viewer said. “I’ve told them repeatedly that breakfast is important, but they don’t listen. They already get up so early that I don’t want to deprive them of any more sleep. Do you have any information about breakfast and its importance that I can convey to my daughters?”
Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee responded, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for everyone. Many studies have found a relationship between eating breakfast and learning ability, attention span and general well-being. Children who regularly eat breakfast think faster, clearer, solve problems more easily, and are less likely to be irritable.”
The breakfast crunch
Eating breakfast promotes proper growth and maximizes school performance because it’s usually easier for breakfast-eaters to meet their daily nutritional needs, according to input from Sheah Rarback, M.S., R.D., a pediatric dietitian at University of Miami’s Mailman Center for Child Development. In the article “Healthy Breakfast Ideas,” Rarback says that breakfast is often a victim of the a.m. time crunch. “Face it, breakfast is the one thing you can skip when you’re in a hurry,” laments Rarback.
Healthy breakfast ideas
Mary L. Gavin, M.D., a reviewer for KidsHealth.org, a part of The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children's Health Media, advocates that any breakfast is better than no breakfast, but try not to have doughnuts or pastries all the time. These foods are high in calories, sugar, and fat, and don’t contain the nutrients a kid really needs. Healthy breakfasts contain a variety of foods, including grains (breads and cereals), protein (meats, beans and nuts), fruits and vegetables, and milk, cheese and yogurt. Here are some ideas that will help you get a good morning start.
– Weird but yummy
Adults need breakfast, too
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) reports that adults who eat breakfast have an easier time losing weight.
In 2007, ADA issued “The Proven Benefits of Breakfast,” reporting that after eight to 12 hours overnight without food, your body needs to refuel its glucose levels. Without breakfast, your brain and your muscles will not have the energy needed to sustain activity throughout the day.
People who skip breakfast often feel more tired, irritable, and restless in the morning. Those who do eat breakfast have a better attitude toward work, higher productivity, and better ability to handle tasks that require memory. They also have more strength and endurance as well as better concentration and problem-solving ability.
What’s your excuse?
Adults sometimes lose sight of the importance of breakfast, too, and make excuses even though setting an example is all a part of parenting children. Nancy Schmieder, a certified lifestyle consultant who works with the Better Living Ministries in Wayland, New York, points out some typical excuses of adults who don’t eat breakfast in her post “The Importance of Breakfast.”
Christina DiMartino has been a freelance and assignment writer since 1985. She is a researcher, interviewer, writer, editor, and manuscript collaborator with a repertoire of clients from around the world.
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