Breakfast – the battle worth fighting

May 4, 2015 BY: LISA

Is breakfast worth getting up a little earlier for?

I had a bit of a battle with my daughter, it started around age 8, when she decided she didn’t want to eat breakfast. As a self-respecting dietitian, who eats breakfast every day, I had to insist that she “wasn’t leaving the house without breakfast!” I’d like to say it was done quietly and professionally but more likely it was done at high volume as we were rushing to get ready for school and work.

PeterDargatz / Pixabay

There may come a point in your child’s life where they decide they’re not hungry at breakfast time so stop eating breakfast. In essence it makes the morning routine easier as there is one less thing to nag about before they leave for school or before you all race out the door, so all good right?

 

But…

It’s easier in the short term however creates problems in the long term. As a dietitian I see many people who struggle with their weight and more times than not they don’t eat breakfast and haven’t for a while. Yes, it’s true that some people who don’t struggle with weight don’t eat breakfast but in my experience they are the minority.

 

Skipping breakfast can be in response to kids learning their friends don’t eat breakfast or watching parents or trying to lose weight or perhaps just running short of time. However it begins, the habit of skipping breakfast is not helpful.

 

What we know about breakfast:

 

Helps you maintain a healthy weight

Research shows that consuming breakfast regularly is associated with lower levels of overweight and obesity. Breakfast fills you up, meaning you are less likely to experience hunger pangs throughout day and resort to snacking on high energy, high fat foods.

moerschy / Pixabay

Provides energy to get you through the morning

The whole grain, high fibre carbohydrates contained in a good breakfast cereal provide a great low glycemic index (GI) source of energy and are great for contributing to our dietary fibre intake. Recent research has shown that starting the day with a good whole grain cereal, like porridge, actually decreases premature death and heart death. This may seem a long way off for a kid but you’ve got to start somewhere!

 

 

Those eating breakfast have a greater chance of achieving the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals

Breakfast is an ideal opportunity to consume foods which are great sources of B vitamins, folate, iron and fibre. Research has found that those who consume breakfast are more likely to meet their recommended dietary intakes for vitamins and minerals compared to when breakfast was not eaten.

 

 

Improves alertness, concentration, mental performance, mood and memory

Skipping breakfast can often leave you feeling ‘fuzzy’ or unable to concentrate; this is because your brain is starving for energy. Your brain requires energy in the form of glucose from nutritious foods such as grainy bread, breakfast cereals, fruit and milk at breakfast in order to function at its best throughout the day. In fact, eating breakfast has been linked with an improvement in literacy and numeracy skills in school children.

Some healthy breakfast ideas:

  • High fibre breakfast cereal ( aim for greater than 10-15% (grams per 100grams) dietary fibre)
  • Tub of yoghurt (150-200grams) and piece of fruit
  • Smoothie- made from milk, yoghurt and fruit (could also add oat bran)
  • Whole grain bread/toast with topping +/- glass of milk
  • Omelets or other egg based breakfast meal- try to add in some veggies

 

Romi / Pixabay

I know it’s one more thing you need to do and it’s already crazy enough but as the parent you need to put boundaries into place to assist your kids grow and develop optimally and breakfast is a big part of this. But the extra hassle will be worth it as you will be picking a battle that matters in the short and long term. Keep in mind the message will be more powerful if you are eating brekkie too!

Lisa APD

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