From the Desk of Jordan Rubin
The Old Cliché Is Still True: Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day
The looming health threat of global obesity, or “globesity,” is a chief reason why I embarked on the Perfect Weight America tour. If we don’t get a handle on our national obesity crisis, I hate to think what could happen. And obesity doesn’t affect only adults. Kids are growing fatter by the day too—even kids who skip breakfast. So, if your teen skips breakfast, then here are some findings you might be interested in.
Recently in Pediatrics magazine, Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health announced the results of a study showing that adolescents who skip breakfast have a higher chance of being overweight.
The study followed 2,000 adolescents for five years. The participants filled out detailed surveys on what they ate and when they ate, and also provided information on their height, weight, BMI, and level of physical activity. The bottom line: the more often that teens ate breakfast, the less likely they were going to be overweight or obese.
Believe me, teens are like adults when they skip breakfast. Soon . . . maybe ten o’clock, maybe noontime, they’re going to get very hungry. When that happens, they’ll snack on a candy bar in their locker, or grab a soft drink from the vending machine, or reach in their pocket for their favorite candy. The sugar spike is just a Band-Aid over their hunger, and when the lunch bell rings, they rush to the school cafeteria, where they choose from a menu consisting of chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, or pizza. Dessert might be a piece of coconut crème pie or an ice cream sandwich.
“Grandma and Mom are right,” said Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco, New York. “When we skip breakfast, especially in the teenage years, then kids tend to snack and graze.” And overeat, I might add.
A wise parent will be proactive in this area and make breakfast a priority in the home. What makes a good breakfast? You should serve cut up slices of fruit (berries, peaches, or pineapple, etc.) with yogurt made from organic milk that’s preferably non-homogenized or non-pasteurized. Organic cottage cheese would be good, too. Or, you can mix the following ingredients in a blender and make a wonderful smoothie. Here’s a quick recipe: mix eight ounces of plain whole milk, yogurt or kefir with 1 tablespoon honey, a half-cup of fresh or frozen fruit, 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil, and 1 serving of protein powder. This smoothie is quick and easy to prepare.
If your teens are cereal persons, I recommend a brand called Ezekiel 4:9. I would prefer that they eat their cereal over yogurt or kefir rather than milk. Scrambling a couple of omega-3 or organic eggs makes for an excellent breakfast as well. You can add some raw cheddar or jack cheese to the eggs to give them some added flavor. Some even garnish with some organic salsa.
Your teens may think that they will keep the pounds off by skipping breakfast, which, in their minds, is the same as skipping calories. But this study demonstrates the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is that skipping what some call “the most important meal of the day” just makes you hungrier later on, and that’s when you’re likely to consume some really lousy foods.
And that’s a recipe for losing the Battle of the Bulge and gaining unhealthy weight.