By Troy Petenbrink
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics nearly half of all American families regularly skip breakfast. This is especially bad news for children. Eating a nutritious breakfast has been associated with everything from better grades to a healthier body weight. For some easy breakfast tips, we asked Dr. Maiya Clark for her expert advice.
Maiya Clark, MD
Sunshine Pediatrics, LLC
344 University Blvd. W. Suite 112
Silver Spring, MD 20901
Dr. Maiya Clark knows the importance of providing children a daily healthy breakfast. She is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is Board Certified in Pediatrics.
Tip 1: Don’t Skip It
Skipping breakfast is a bad idea. Studies have found that missing this first meal of the day can cause weight gain by overeating later in the day. In addition, a healthy breakfast provides children the fuel and energy they need for the school day — and it has been linked to better school performance. Having nutritious breakfast bars handy is a great idea for days when schedules are tight.
Tip 2: Pick The Right Cereals
Cereal is a quick and easy breakfast staple but it is important to make sure it is a healthy choice. Many cereals are filled with unhealthy added sugars. It is best to select a cereal that has no more than 12 grams of sugar per serving; is high in fiber content (at least two or more grams per serving), has a low glycemic index. and is made with whole grains. Adding fresh cut fruits like bananas and using low-fat milk are also recommended.
Tip 3: Beware Of Fruit Juices
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new guidelines regarding the consumption of fruit juice. It now recommends no fruit juice for children under age one. For those one to three years of age, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily, and for children ages seven to 18, juice should be limited to no more than one cup. It is also best to encourage the eating of whole fruits instead of juice..
Tip 4: Be Creative
Keeping your children excited about breakfast can sometimes be a challenge but a little creativity can go a long way. Breakfast shakes and smoothies are a great way to take breakfast up a notch. Look for recipes that use whole fruit, low-calorie yogurt, and additional nutrients such as flax seed or wheatgerm. There are also great recipes that include fresh vegetables such as spinach and cucumber..
Tip 5: Let Your Children Help
Letting your child help prepare his or her own breakfast is a great way to keep him or her excited and engaged. In addition, including your child in grocery shopping and educating him or her about nutrition labels is also recommended.