Are you giving your kids the right fuel for school, or do their choices consist of PopTarts, Toaster Strudels, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or “leggomyeggo” waffles?
I have to admit, my mom really didn’t know a lot about nutrition when I was young. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted – none of which was healthy. Pop Tarts and sugary cereals with prizes in the box were a staple in our house. I wasn’t a big breakfast eater, and I’m sure my mom was just happen when I ate breakfast period – no matter what it was. However, she had no idea what it was doing to my day at school.
Ironically, my mom must have known a healthy breakfast had it’s advantages because my mom always made me a healthy big breakfast on test day. The problem is, no healthy breakfast in the world could help me get a better grade when I wasn’t paying attention all the other days I ate crap. What a child eats for breakfast greatly determines how they feel at school.
Fuel the Brain
You probably wouldn’t let your kid eat a piece of cake or some brownies for breakfast, but the majority of breakfast foods for kids are as equally unhealthy. They may taste good on the tongue, but they do nothing for the body.
Sugary, high-glycemic breakfasts set your child up for failure. They will get your child happily out the door, but in just a couple hours (if that), they will likely lose energy, along with their attention span – unless they are lucky enough to have a stimulating class (like PE) that gets their blood sugar back up mechanically from exercise or activity.
Your child needs healthy low-glycemic foods rich in fiber, with a little healthy fat. Lower glycemic foods deliver an IV drip-like affect of energy throughout the morning. Sugary foods hit the system fast, and also leaves the system fast. Lower glycemic foods and healthy fats take a slower time to break down in our system. The longer it’s in the tummy, the longer the energy will last from the meal. Meals high in fiber keep the tummy full too, as well as regular blood sugar (and a ton of other great stuff too).
As I look back, I remember eating nice big healthy breakfasts on Saturday mornings or on Holidays because that’s probably when my mom had more time to cook. Yet, that would be a good time to have a “treat” like waffles or french toast, because it’s not like I needed a lot of energy to watch cartoons all morning. But, for school, it’s a different story. Kids need all the help they can get to be alert, feel good and do well in school. A healthy breakfast is a must for your child’s brain – not to mention their waistline!
Eat This, Not That
This info graphic by HowManyCaloriesCounters.com shows what, and what not, to eat before exam day – but I think it’s how all students should eat to perform their best EVERY day.
Who’s the Boss?
I think back to my school days, and I can’t BELIEVE what I ate. Processed foods and coke were my go-to foods. I didn’t even know what oatmeal was. Whole grains? What is that? Eggs? Yuck! Yogurt? You mean frozen yogurt? Honestly, what kid is going to choose oatmeal over Captain Crunch or Pancakes!? Sure, there are a few kids who like eggs and toast, but most kids would prefer the breakfast that comes in a flashy fun package, complete with a toy.
I remember thinking Special K was for overweight women and Raisin Bran was for old people – I only knew what the commercials taught me. It’s time for parents to be parents. It’s time parents teach their children to eat healthy – and to help them understand why it’s important (other than just being about weight).
You want your child to FEEL good. You want your child to perform their best – and I’m sure you don’t want them to gain weight or struggle with weight related health issues like diabetes. If you wouldn’t let them take drugs in your house, or make other poor choices that are dangerous or unhealthy, don’t let them make poor choices with food. While one poptart won’t hurt here and there, a child who is allowed to eat whatever they want when they are young, could have serious repercussions later in life.
One article in the NY Daily News on this topic said, “Childhood is a critical period in which dietary and lifestyle patterns are initiated, and these habits can have important immediate and long-term implications,” says lead author Dr. Jianghong-Liu, associate professor at Penn Nursing. “Breakfast habits appear to be no exception, and irregular breakfast eating has already been associated with a number of unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, frequent alcohol use, and infrequent exercise.”
Top 10 Sugar-Bomb Cereals
Here are the top 10 sugar-bomb kids’ cereals, ranked by percent weight in sugar by the Environmental Working Group. NOTE: 26% is the recommended MAX.
- Kellogg’s Honey Smacks: 55.6% sugar
- Post Golden Crisp: 51.9% sugar
- Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow: 48.3% sugar
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries: 46.9% sugar
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original: 44.4% sugar
- Quaker Oats Oh!s: 44.4% sugar
- Kellogg’s Smorz: 43.3% sugar
- Kellogg’s Apple Jacks: 42.9% sugar
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries: 42.3% sugar
- Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original: 41.4% sugar
FOLLOW my blog (located at the top right of my blog) for more healthy back to school tips this week!
The word “breakfast” literally means breaking the fast. After not eating for hours during the night, your first meal of the day breaks the fast, raises your blood sugar, and revs your metabolism. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and the most neglected. Whether people skip it or just choose poorly, most people are not getting the nutrition they need to feel good throughout the day.
Breakfast is necessary to wake your body up. You can try using coffee to fake your system out, but coffee doesn’t fuel your body like food does and it will eventually let you down.
So, now that you know how important breakfast is, here are the best and worse breakfasts, along with a few tips to boot!
TOP WORSE BREAKFASTS
- Cinnamon rolls
- Pancakes, waffles and French Toast (made with oil, butter and syrup)
- Deceiving Muffins, Coffee Cakes & Scones (although fat in muffins r better than the fat in donuts)
- Eggs with yolks (restaurants also cook them in loads of oil)
- Hashbrowns and Tatar Tots
- Omelets with real egg and cheese (and lots of oil)
Top 5 Sugary Prepackaged Breakfasts
- Pop Tarts
- Taster Strudel
- Cereal Bars
- Granola (high in fat & sugar – better used as a yogurt topping)
COMING UP on Motivation Monday:
Men’s Fitness‘ Top 5 Worse Restaurant Breakfast Food
I’ll be unveiling the top worse Restaurant breakfast food on my Monday Radio Show. Here are some hints:
- What Denny’s Meal has Over 1,160 and nearly 3,000mg sodium?
- What IHOP meal looks healthier than it is – with 920 calories & 70gm of fat?
- Which Hardee’s Monster Biscuit has a days worth of sodium AND fat in one sandwich!?
- Which McDonald’s sandwich do you want to avoid the most?
- What Sonic Breakfast Sandwich with Sausage has 51gm of fat?
We’ll post the Ustream footage after it airs from 7AM-8AM Monday on WTTB 1490 right here! Listen LIVE or on Ustream!
OR subscribe to The SideLine Radio UStream to be the first to be notified when it’s LIVE!
BEST & WORST fromNutrition Action:
Burger King the WORST breakfast fast food joint and
Einstein Bagels the BEST for serving 300 calorie bagel thin sandwiches & low fat cream cheese. Also, Einstein bagel’s cream cheese is double whipped which means it has ¼ less fat in them. 8 of the 11 flavors have HALF the fat of regular cream cheese, yet they don’t label them light or low fat.
- Dairy – yogurt & milk
- Whole Grains – oatmeal, whole grain, high fiber, low-sugar cereal, whole grain toast
- Egg Beaters, Egg Whites or Eggs with fewer yolks
- Ham steak and Turkey Sausage instead of Bacon
Skipping Breakfast Quadruples Your Chances of Obesity
4 Reasons Why:
- Breakfast fuels your body.
- Breakfast increases your metabolism.
- Breakfast keeps you sharp. (Have a good breakfast on big days, like test days & big meetings)
- Breakfast prevents overeating at lunchtime.
See all 18 Worse Breakfasts Featured in Men’s Fitness Magazine
When it comes to meal planning, one of the biggest obstacles for dieters is breakfast. Some people are just not hungry that early in the day. Others have a sensitive stomach and can’t stomach just any kind of food in the morning. And, most of us are just so darn busy, rushing to get out the door, we don’t make time for the most important meal of the day. So, here are a few things you can try!
10 Breakfast items that are always on my Shopping List:
- Lavish Oatmeal
- Egg Beaters
- Chobani greek yogurt
- Thomas’ whole wheat bagel thins
- La Tortilla low-carb wraps
- Trop 50 orange juice
- Back to Nature cranberry pecan granola
- Designer Whey vanilla protein (available at Publix)
- Jimmy Dean D’Lights breakfast meals
- Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter
- and of course, a bunch of fresh produce!!
15 Healthy & Simple Breakfast Ideas
Since planning is key to success with any diet, here are some breakfast ideas to help give you more ideas on food to fuel you through the day. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Egg Beaters, ham and cheese on a toasted Thomas’ whole wheat bagel thin.
- Chobani greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of Back to Nature cranberry pecan granola
- Toasted 1/2 a Thomas’ whole grain bagel (or whole bagel thin) with natural Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter and honey
- La Tortilla low-carb wrap, low-fat veggie cream cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, ham, cheese and sprouts.
- Easy Lavish Oatmeal comes in a pouch that doubles as a measuring cup, perfect for rushed mornings.
- Your choice of plain whole oats (oatmeal) with milk, real butter, fresh or dried fruit and chopped nuts
- Egg Beaters, leftover grilled asparagus, and melted cheese on a toasted Thomas’ whole wheat bagel thin.
- Jimmy Dean D’Lights turkey sausage breakfast bowl (230 calories) or sausage, egg white cheese bagel (260 cal) are great in a rush.
- Egg beaters, leftover spinach, tomato and low-fat feta cheese on toasted Thomas’ whole wheat bagel thin.
- Protein shake, like Designer Whey vanilla protein, Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter , milk (or soy milk) and whole oats (like Coaches Oats) for crunch. Or, Designer Whey vanilla protein, Trop 50 orange juice, banana and yogurt is great for fruit smoothie lovers.
- Egg Beater Casserole. Layer thin 100-calorie bread or bagel thins, Egg Beaters and your favorite toppings like leftover chopped meat, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and low-fat cheese. Great for cooking in advance!
- La Tortilla low-carb wrap wrap with sliced bananas and Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter – quick, easy and yummy! Add sprouts for a fun crunch!
- Breakfast burrito with Egg Beaters, leftover chicken, onion, cheese and fresh salsa on a La Tortilla low-carb wrap
- Thomas’ whole wheat bagel thin, plain cream cheese spread, sliced smoked salmon (available at Sam’s Club), lemon juice and capers. (Steve’s favorite breakfast)
- Always have Designer Whey protein bars on hand for emergency mornings when you run out of time. My favorite is their triple chocolate crunch!
Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be complicated or big – but it needs to be a smart choice. The better you eat in the morning, the better you will feel throughout the day.
I am not an egg eater, but sometimes I crave salty meals instead of my traditional fresh fruit and Chobani yogurt breakfast. Here is what I made today and it was YUMMY!
Tablespoon of Wickles Pepper Relish
1/2 Teaspoon of Low-Fat Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread
A Few Slices of Onion
1 Sweet Peppers
1 La Tortilla Low-Carb (High-Protein) Wrap
Top with a Dollop of Chobani Yogurt
Add some jalapenos to spice it up even more!
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Spice up your meals for more exciting healthy eating!