Healthy Morning How To’s
Getting kids off to school in the morning with a tummy full of healthy food will do wonders for their health and well-being. It can even help them achieve good grades due to more stable blood sugar levels, which increases brain function, including the classroom-critical attention span. Here are a few easy ways to give your child(ren) a healthy head start each day.
• Turn off the TV while eating breakfast as studies show that those who watch TV while eating consume higher amounts of fat and calories as they are more inclined to eat “mindlessly.”
• Small changes at breakfast = big results. Skim milk instead of whole, wheat toast versus white, sugar-free all-fruit jam versus butter, egg whites or egg substitute versus whole eggs, lean ham versus bacon, sliced tomatoes versus hash browns, fiber-rich whole grain cereal or oatmeal versus sugar-laden cereal, whole wheat waffle with a touch of honey verus a toaster pastry … you get the idea.
• Parents can make healthier cereals just as exciting to children as the sugar-stuff varieties by putting their own toy of choice into the box as the prize, which the candy masquerading as cereals do to increase adolescent-driven demand. You can also add dried or dehydrated fruit, such as raisins, apricots, pears and apples, to healthier cereals to increase their “curb appeal” and flavor.
• Fresh fruit is always a crowd pleaser, and every child is apt to love at least one type. Serve it up as a morning staple, and allow your child(ren) to make “special fruit requests” – and honor them. Consider instituting a fun “fruit of the week” breakfast plan, and take the opportunity to discuss the health benefits of each week’s selection.
• No time for a sit down? In a pinch, cereal bars can be a life savor. Seek those where the first ingredient listed is whole grain and has less than 10 grams of sugar per bar and a maximum 3-4 grams of fat.
• Commend your child when he or she makes a healthy food choice on their own by proclaiming how strong, fast and smart you bet they will be that day for eating such healthy food. It’s also fun to tell younger children that you “just saw them grow an inch” upon their completing a notably healthy breakfast. Measure the top of their head to your body to “prove” it.
Merilee Kern is the author of the award-winning, ground-breaking illustrated fictional children’s book, “Making Healthy Choices – A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids.”