It's that time again.... back to school! And with even more studies popping up with findings that skipping breakfast increases cardiovascular disease, decreases cognitive function and sets us up for future unhealthy cravings throughout the day and sets us on a healthy path.
Almost every single day, my children come home with “you would not believe” stories about different “foods” that kids eat at school. They don’t mean it in a snobby or judgmental way, rather they are afraid for said kids health and plead with me to “p-u-h-l-e-e-z-e come to school and talk to them!” (thereby saving the child’s life). I love them for that. They are my mini crusaders. So let’s do talk kids and food and see if we can’t save the day.
As expected, our first stop is breakfast. A child’s ability to properly function throughout the day rests on this meal. It is imperative for sustained energy, concentration, and focus. Breakfast also dictates what the body will crave as the day goes on. If breakfast is a toaster pastry (high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, GMOs, chemical preservatives,dyes, and synthetic vitamins), a donut (fried chemical cocktail), a white bagel, Starbucks pound cake (it clocks in at 46g sugar and 490 calories…opt for the oatmeal), a muffin, a frozen waffle, high-sugar cereal, or other processed, sugar-laden food, then the body is being set up to fail, fall, and crash.
Here with some of our favorite energy-imparting, super healthy breakfast options:
Protein smoothie made with a protein base such as 1 scoop of hemp protein combined with 1/2 c organic blueberries, 1 frozen organic banana, 1 tbs organic chia seed, and 1 cup of unsweetened organic almond milk.
1-2 tbs. freshly ground organic nut butter with organic peeled and cored apple slices, plus a handful of fresh organic blueberries (or other seasonal berries), and 1/2 organic banana sliced on top of 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt.
Steel cut organic oats or organic whole rolled oats with organic unsweetened almond milk, a dash of raw honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Top with 1/2 c fresh organic berries. Serve with 8-10 raw organic California almonds.
Two poached (or steam “fried”) organic, pasture-raised eggs served on a toasted organic whole grain English muffin, and topped with 1/2 slice rBgh free, unprocessed, Organic Valley American cheese. Serve with orange and banana slices.
Two scrambled organic, pasture-raised eggs on a sprouted wheat tortilla with fresh salsa. Serve with a side of fresh berries.
Low-sugar (under 6 grams of sugar is a must…be sure to check the serving size) granola or high-fiber cereal such as Ezekiel or Living Intentions SuperFood Cereal (or make your own granola with organic old fashioned rolled oats, groats, chopped raw almonds (soaked), shredded coconut, dried cranberries, and raw honey).
Contrary to how many of us grew up eating cereal (big full bowl with a flood of cow’s milk), use the grains as a topping for organic plain Greek yogurt and fresh organic berries, or use only 1/2 a cup granola or cereal and top with fresh organic seasonal berries and chopped organic walnuts.
For a mad dash out the door breakfast, I keep boiled organic, pasture-raised eggs on hand. A boiled egg, alongside an organic nut butter and banana slices on an organic rice cake or sprouted wheat or grain free toast, make for an easy “eat in the car” breakfast. Just make sure you put in it a glass to-go container.
Here are a few other breakfast guidelines I live by:
Think out of the box, and try not to serve food that comes out of one.
Skip the fruit juice unless it’s fresh pressed and mixed with protein. I typically only serve purified water with fresh lemon wedges in the morning.
Skip the jelly. For your child with a sweet tooth, slice fresh bananas and sprinkle them with raw honey instead. You will be surprised at how quickly those sugar expectations decline.
Never serve children pork bacon, sausage, chorizo, or other processed breakfast meats, as they contain nitrates, which are a leading cause of Leukemia and pancreatic cancer.
If the idea of making breakfast while you’re still bleary eyed sends you over the edge, here are some strategies to make things more manageable:
Adhere to a morning schedule. Designate 30 minutes for breakfast to ensure enough time to fuel up for the day. Scheduling that time teaches a child that breakfast is important, and following through with truly nutritious foods is essential for their health. If a child complains of not being hungry in the morning, try feeding them dinner no later than 6 pm the night before.
Also cut sugar and processed foods from their diet and increase daily water and vegetable intake. (I also suggest a daily probiotic supplement.) I promise, in a short time, they will look forward to breakfast!
Plan and prepare for the following morning the night before by doing thing like washing and cutting fruit, soaking steel-cut oats and almonds, and boiling eggs. Mix it up! Try not to serve the same thing over and over. Little changes go a long way!
Lead by example. We can preach, plead, and teach all day, but friends, if we aren’t livin’ it, they are believin‘ it. Kids need our help. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes threaten our children’s lives. Childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescence in the past thirty years (we are talking 1983.) It’s up to us, as their care takers, to change the tide, and that change begins at home. The belief system that kids are entitled to “be kids” and eat donuts, candy, and sugar snacks is flawed. Kids are entitled to run, play, and grow up without the threat of disease. It all hurts, it all shows up one day… the bill always comes. Make every effort to ensure the health of your child. It will be one of the most important things you will ever do.
Here's to Healthy beginnings,