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
If you are like me and you miss your sweet breakfast when going Paleo or reducing carbs – then this is for you! My breakfasts have always consisted of oatmeal, greek yogurt, breakfast bread, bagel and peanut butter or a protein shake. Since we’ve been giving the Paleo diet a test run, I can’t have any of those things so I’ve been beside myself trying to find a breakfast that I really can enjoy. Many Paleo eaters are content with eating scrambled eggs, omelets, steak and eggs and anything else eggy. Not me. That is not my idea of yummy. Although I do eat eggs, they aren’t my favorite. So, I decided to scout out some breakfast ideas.
First, I found a recipe for protein bars at FastPaleo.com. I loved the idea it had a ton of eggs in it, but wouldn’t taste like traditional eggy meals. Also, the sweet potato idea intrigued me – especially since I was looking for ways to put more healthy, low-glycemic carbs in my meals. I loved that it was low in fat and didn’t have a ton of nuts, seeds or fruit in it too, like many other recipes I found. Then I played around with the ingredients I saw on one of their recipes, added in some of my own ideas, and came up with a great new way to eat eggs that I could enjoy. The end result was breakfast that tasted a lot like french toast without the bread, fat and extra sugary calories! (take note parents, this may be a great way to trick your kid into eating more eggs!)
Here’s what I did…
- 2 Large Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 6 Eggs, beaten (I used egg beaters)
- 2 Tbs Almond meal
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tbs honey to sweeten (non-paleo peeps can add stevia or more honey)
- 1 scoop of natural unsweetened whey protein
Mix all ingredients (I used a mixer to make it more of a french bread consistency). If you look at the original recipe, you can see I went off plan. I mashed my sweet potatoes instead of used shredded yams. I didn’t have coconut flour, so I used almond meal, and I added protein powder to beef up my protein content. I also added the honey to sweeten it up a bit.
Heat for 25 minutes on 350, let cool and cut into squares. I cut mine into 15 bars. 2 squares = 82 calories, 9.1gm protein, 8.7gm carbs, 1g fat. This is a great breakfast you can cook in advance for a quick microwaveable breakfast on the go! Eat alone or top with a drizzle of honey and a few berries for a really delicious low calorie breakfast!
I encourage you to play around with the ingredients yourself. Also, share with me your favorite Paleo breakfast ideas. I’d love to try them and I’m sure there are some really great recipes out there I’d love to add to my collection of yummy fun!
Why Paleo? Paleo eating is simply good healthy eating – it is low in carbs, high in protein, low in bad fats, and high healthy fats. It is gluten-free, free of processed foods and a lot of junk that causes health issues and inflammation in the body. It forces you to get more nutrients from whole foods and to not be so dependent on unhealthy quick fixes. I’m still a newbie, but I have to admit, despite the huge learning curve and having to make serious changes – I’m liking it so far. I feel healthy and strong!
My unofficial disclaimer: I must confess, I am not a chef. I LOVE to cook, but I make stuff up as I go and don’t follow the rules. I am a simple, creative cook who just enjoys playing in the kitchen and eating healthy. If you want a chef, go see Paula Dean. Don’t hate, appreciate! ha! 🙂
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.
If you’re like me, and you like cereal, you are always looking for healthy low-cal ways to get it in without ruining your diet. Unfortunately, cereal and granola can be extremely high in calories – and in fat. On top of that, we use WAY more than the ridiculously small portion sizes posted on the box. As if I’d only eat a 1/2 cup of anything! Really?
I’m all about getting the MOST food for the LEAST calories. Then, my next mission is to make sure the calories aren’t all coming from carbs and/or fat, so that means it needs to have a lot of protein.
What if we didn’t rely on the actual cereal itself to boost our protein, but actually changed the way we ate cereal altogether? This is how I’ve changed America’s #1 breakfast.
If I were to make my favorite Back to Nature Granola, and used the serving sizes as suggested, I’d be less than satisfied. 1/2 cup of granola is a tease – and with one cup of milk, my granola would be so lonely floating around with all that white liquidy room. I’d be more than unsatisfied.
The Ole Switcheroo
This calls for the pFIT pFOOD Switcheroo! When you’re eating cereal, you’re relying on each morsel of crunch to fuel (and entertain) you instead of the milk you put it in. What if we reversed roles and we relied on the white stuff for the fuel and the crunchy stuff for the fun?
Why switch it up? The primary reason is cereal with fat free milk doesn’t stick with me. When I eat a meal, I don’t want to be hungry in 30 minutes, so I strategically plan my meals to have a nice balance of fat, protein and carbs so the meal not only tasty, but it lasts.
Trade 1 cup milk for 1/2 cup Chobani Greek Yogurt
Cut granola portions in 1/2, from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup
Making these 2 changes cut calories and doubled the protein! AND I bet it stays with you longer! Check it out:
Regular Granola & Milk:
270 calories & 10 gms of protein
Granola & Chobani:
260 calories & 22gms of protein
This weekend we get to enjoy the time change we all look forward too – “fall back” as we often call it. Although most people will enjoy the feeling of sleeping in an extra hour, there’s a better way to make the most of the hour difference.
Since your body is already used to getting up, falling back to Standard Time is the perfect opportunity to begin a morning exercise routine. Your circadian rhythm (internal time clock) will know no different. Not what you want to hear? Com’on! You have to admit it makes since. The hardest part of beginning a morning exercise routine is getting up earlier. This is the only time of the year you can trick your body into getting up earlier without feeling it!
- Set your alarm clock 1 hour earlier everyday. In order for this to work best you must stay in the habit of waking up early everyday, even if you chose not to exercise every morning.
- Do cardio on an empty stomach. Make the most of your morning exercise routine by burning as much fat as possible. Doing cardio on an empty stomach (or mostly empty stomach), forces your body to use fat stores for the energy needed to exercise. (If your routine includes weights, you should eat before weight training and save cardio for last.)
- Make the most of your time with interval training. This is great for burning fat and getting in shape. Beginners can alternate between a walk and a fast walk. An intermediate routine would combine a walk with a jog. Advanced routines would rotate jogging and running. You can predetermine the length of intervals (2 to 5 minutes each) or you can set goals along the way, like telling yourself to jog from the red car to the light post on the corner. The intense activity should be too intense to maintain for a long period of time and the recovery period should never be slower than your normal pace.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. You should still have time to eat a quick breakfast. Instead of processed foods, like cereal or pastries, try whole oats (oatmeal), greek yogurt, egg white sandwich on whole wheat thins, 1/2 a whole grain bagel with natural peanut butter and honey, or a yummy protein shake. If you miss breakfast, you miss burning more calories through out your morning and having more energy – plus you are more likely to eat a big lunch because you are SO hungry by lunch time you overeat.
- Tivo your favorite shows. In order to maintain your new routine, record your favorite shows so you are not tempted to stay up late. You’ll be able to watch them the next day at your convenience, plus you get to save up to twenty minutes per episode of lost time you normally spend waiting for commercials!
Egg Beaters (2 egg whites = 34 calories))
Fresh or Frozen Spinach (use as much as you want. 1 cup = 7 calories)
Sun Dried Tomatoes (5 pieces diced = 40 calories)
Low-Fat Feta Cheese (1/2 ounce = 40 calories)
Light Veggie Cream Cheese (1 TBS = 50 calories)
Canadian Bacon (1 slice = 43 calories)
Whole Wheat Bagel Thins
324 Calories, a Happy Tongue & a Content Belly!
Share your favorite Breakfast Food with us in the comment section!
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