Remember simpler mornings of not too long ago? Sitting, chatting and nibbling, reading the paper, feeding the family. That’s so over. Now, parents wake up around 5 a.m. to check e-mail, Facebook and the news, only to quickly scramble to get the kids’ lunches made. Before you know it, those kids are running for the bus with half eaten bowls of cereal still on the table. It’s just another crazy school morning in the Internet age.
Only wait a minute. Cincinnati Children’s reports that kids who don’t eat breakfast don’t do well in school. After sleeping eight – 10 hours at night and going without food, what your child eats in the a.m. is definitely the most important meal of his day. So make it good!
“The nature of the food we eat affects hormones in profound ways for many hours after a meal,” says David Ludwig, M.D., author of Ending the Food Fight (Houghton Mifflin). What’s best for kids in the morning, Ludwig says, are breakfast foods with a low glycemic index (GI). The term refers to how rapidly carbohydrates affect blood sugar. How to tell if a food has a low glycemic index? A quick rule of thumb: The more processed the food, the higher its GI; the higher a food’s fiber content, the lower its GI. Breakfast, in other words, should be a high-fiber event. This means vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Cincinnati Children’s says it’s important to offer fruits and vegetables to children at every meal.
So now what? Prepare the oatmeal or low-fat yogurt and fruit smoothie or whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese before your kids come into the kitchen — BEFORE you get sucked into the chasm of Internet delight that makes time disappear. Teach your kids that what they eat in the morning IS important, and will help them in school, in fact. Afterall, it’s true!