We all try our best to teach our kids important life lessons. We teach them how to behave, how to work with others—and how to eat. Our kids learn from the food that is on the dinner table to the snacks we eat in front of the TV what they should eat. If we teach our kids to eat a balanced nutrient-rich meal every day—even three times a day—we are giving them one of the most important gifts possible for their future!
We’ve heard that, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” While sometimes it may be hard to judge “best,” most parents would agree that sending their kids off to school or summer camp—or to any daily activity for that matter—is best done with a solid, nutritious start . A nutrient-rich breakfast will give them the energy and stamina to get through the school day, to be able to focus and concentrate on their schoolwork, and/or to engage in all those fun after school activities and play dates!
By the way, have you ever stopped to think about the word “breakfast”? It quite literally means “breaking the fast.” It seems pretty reasonable that in breaking the fast, you should be concerned with a high-quality nutrient-rich meal! The American Medical Association recently came out with their recommendations to fight childhood obesity—and one of these recommendations was for kids to eat breakfast daily.
But, it’s important to remember that kids are growing and need nutrient-rich meals and snacks throughout the day! They are generally more active than adults, and thus need to eat more often. The American Dietetic Association recommends that “Total caloric intake should be distributed throughout the day, with the consumption of four to five meals/snacks per day including breakfast. Consumption of greater energy intake during the day may be preferable to evening consumption.” In other words, they are saying that kids and adults should have regular meals along with snacks, daily.
Having nutrient-rich meals is a great way to accomplish that goal! Making the meals and snacks fun for kids is a fantastic way to get them to eat and enjoy nutrient-rich food.
However, when eating nutrient-rich foods, as an adult, you should only eat when you are hungry. If you eat enough leafy greens, bulky fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans, seeds, and nuts at each meal, you will be satiated and will not feel the need to graze and eat snacks all day long. If weight loss is a goal, then it is very important not to eat between meals so that you give your body time to burn off what you ate, and to begin burning your stored calories and fat deposits. If you keep eating small meals all day long, you will only burn what you recently ate and will never start losing the weight that you have stored.
The next time you sit down for breakfast, make sure it includes nutrient-rich foods. In the beginning, make sure the meals are simple, quick and easy. You can ease into transitioning to a full nutrient-rich diet. Unless you really like to cook and have time to do so, start simple.
Feed your family members bowls of seven whole grain Kashi puffs, or the lightly sweetened with honey version (which is not 100% nutrient-rich, but is a great way to start) and load it up with delicious blueberries, strawberries, peaches and/or bananas, a few chopped walnuts, and a sprinkling of flax seed. Pour on some almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, or mild hemp milk (which is tastiest and you don’t have to smoke it!) Your family will love it and you will feel great feeding them a nutrient-rich healthy meal. In addition, you are giving your children a nutritious source of fuel and energy to start their day right at school.
Our children are our future, our legacy, and our most treasured creations. Feed them nutrient-rich healthy foods, make food and meal times fun for them, and provide them with a strong foundation and the best chance possible for a happy and healthy long life!
 Rao G., Childhood obesity: highlights of AMA Expert Committee recommendations. Rao G – Am Fam Physician – 1-JUL-2008; 78(1): 56-63.
 Adult weight management evidence-based nutrition practice guideline. American Dietetic Association Evidence Analysis Library Websites http://www.adaevidencelibrary.com/topic.cfm?cat=2798 (Accessed 7/11)