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Breakfast Can Be Family Opportunity Time

March 9, 2000


Busy parents who are looking for ways to regain control of their family life can claim breakfast as a time to be together with their children. Breakfast is a great time for families to check schedules, share words of advice or discuss an upcoming athletic event. Like throwing a log on a dying fire, breakfast stokes the brain after a long night without fuel. After a long night's fast, youngsters need breakfast to stay alert and do well in school throughout the day.

Breakfast-eating Parents Lead to Breakfast-eating Kids: It's especially important for parents to eat a good breakfast every day. Why? Because parents are role models for their children. Children who see their parents eat breakfast are more likely to eat breakfast, too. Getting the 40+ nutrients needed each day is more likely for those who eat a morning meal. Breakfast skippers may never make up the nutrients they miss.

Breakfast + Kids = Better School Performance: Children who eat breakfast are less likely to miss class, be tardy, or report they are sick than children who miss the morning meal. Breakfast eaters also score higher on tests and have better concentration and muscle coordination. Kids who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, too. Unfortunately, a recent survey
found that as many as 40% of 8- to 13-year-old children do not eat breakfast every day.

Quick Picks for Breakfast: Quick, kid-pleasing breakfast ideas include: a toaster waffle topped with sliced bananas and maple syrup, whole-grain cereal with strawberries, fruit-filled breakfast bars and fresh orange and apple wedge "smiles", bagel or English muffin with your child's favorite spread-jam, jelly, peanut butter, cream cheese, etc., leftover pizza from the previous night's dinner, fruit smoothie (fruit and milk whirled in a blender), or melted cheese sandwich on whole-grain toast.

To make breakfast fun, play the Breakfast Game-whoever eats the healthiest breakfasts over the course of one week is the winner! One point is awarded for each food group represented at your breakfast: breads/cereals, fruit, vegetable, milk/dairy, or meat (no points for the fats, oils and sweet group). At the end of the week, the family member with the most points wins!
In order to have time for breakfast, get clothes and schoolwork ready the night before. Allow time for breakfast-wake up ten minutes earlier! And most importantly, sit down
together at the table.


Sources: ADA www.eatright.org child nutrition and health campaign.

Cathi Lamp, UC Tulare County Nutrition, Family & Consumer Science Advisor