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Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Health: Breakfast

They come out, one by one, bedraggled, rubbing eyes that are adjusting to the light.

First question: "What are we going to do today? Tell me everything we are going to do."

Second question: "Can I have a choice for breakfast?"

Sometimes the answer to the second question is "yes" and sometimes it is "no". It is very important to me that the children get a good breakfast. You can spot the children who have had a good breakfast, and the ones who have had a nutritionally poor breakfast.

I generally like to try to make my life easy. Especially with children. And giving them a good breakfast helps me accomplish this very self-serving goal.

Their little bodies have been fasting for 15 hours, so a good meal is essential. Here is what our typical breakfast looks like:

1 egg
1 piece of whole-grain toast with lots of real butter
banana, apple, or berries
whole milk (raw if budgeted for)
small cup of Daddy's leftover breakfast smoothie.

I make them eat pretty much the whole thing. I don't care if they finish lunch or dinner, but I really want a good breakfast in them.

Why? It really affects our tone for the day. Some fat and protein and warmth in their tiny stomachs helps them to be calmer and more obedient. Dry cereal is a treat, something that is given as dessert. I have seen my kids after a bowl of cereal, even "healthy" cereal. The sugar and simple carbohydrates turns them into crazy little bouncing things. This is not the type of child I would like to present to the general public, so I make sure they get some good nutrition at breakfast.

I am sure you have heard that ADD, ADHD, and other behavioral disorders have a nutritional link. I have read numerous times that a high-protein, low-processed-food diet improves the behaviors of affected children in a very measurable way.

If the kids are sick of eggs, I will give them whole-fat cottage cheese or whole-fat unsweetened yogurt (I add stevia and pumpkin pie spice). The key is to get something into their bodies that takes some time and energy to digest, maintaining steady blood sugar levels for an extended period of time.


Kessie said...

I've always wondered if the "ADHD" issue is really just from rushed parents stuffing their kids with processed sugar and carbs and then sending them somewhere where they're supposed to sit still for 8 hours. Just isn't going to happen!

Funny, we both did breakfast posts this morning. I also like feeding them oatmeal with bananas sliced into it, or apples sliced in with a dash of sugar and cinnamon. We've been doing smoothies, too.

Meg said...

Amen sister! We get hot breakfast around here too. By the time it hits bottom they're already happier and more relaxed. And it lasts so much longer than any highly-sugared cereal would. Oatmeal is a favorite around here as well.

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

I'm doing an experiment and serving this all week! Day 1 today :-) We usually eat oatmeal or cereal, and I can see how leaving out protein is not a great idea.


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