At this month’s SMArt kids shared medical appointment, we highlighted the need for a daily, healthy breakfast. The general consensus in the medical community is that children should eat breakfast every day. The old adage does hold true: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast actually perform better in school.
Additionally, studies have demonstrated that it can reduce weight gain. A 2008 study of teenagers revealed that those who ate breakfast had a leaner BMI than those who skipped the morning meal. SMArt kids also learned that kids who eat a healthy breakfast better spread their caloric intake over the course of the day and as a result, eat less total calories.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be blah or boring. We experienced this firsthand at this month’s SMA by kicking off the session with a delicious breakfast burrito. Linda Germaine-Miller, our SMArt Kids’ nutritionist, showed our SMArt Kids an easy yet nutritious way to have breakfast. Try this for a change:
The SMArt kids enjoyed making this burrito as well as eating it. The act of choosing the toppings, smelling the ingredients, and tasting the final product made it an overall enjoyable experience for the kids. They were “aware” of their meal.
Although breakfast was our main topic, Chip Wilder, LICSW from the Burlington Behavioral Health Department, walked us through an activity on food awareness. He provided some tips on how the SMArt Kids should experience eating rather than just eating. They should be aware of their senses, their mood, their thoughts as well as the food itself. This in turn will enable them to be aware of some of the external factors that may prompt them to eat when not hungry or to overeat. The kids learned some valuable tools that they will try at home with their families.
In our efforts to choose a healthy breakfast, we discussed the results of a report from the Environmental Working Group, a public health nonprofit organization, that reviewed nutrition labels for 84 popular brands of breakfast cereals marketed toward children. Clearly, many of the popular Big Brand children’s cereal have too much sugar. The biggest offenders? Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Marshmallow, Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch, All Berries and Crunch Berries, Quaker Oats Oh!s, Kellogg’s Apple Jacks and Kellogg’s Smorz. If you have any of these on your breakfast table, think about getting rid of them!
Instead, look for cereals that are low in sugar, high in fiber (try 3 grams per serving), have a short ingredient list, and are fortified with iron, vitamin D, and calcium. Try plain Cheerios or Kix instead of those sugar-laden options.
The SMArt Kids had great ideas for healthy breakfast options. One of these mornings, try:
Lastly, Halloween is right around the corner. Don’t forget that Halloween can be a scary time when it comes to too much sugar! Remember these tips as Halloween approaches:
I look forward to hearing how the SMArt kids do this next month on their goals.
For more resources to stay healthy this Fall, check out these sites:
Keep up the SMArt work!
Brittanny Boulanger, MD