Wednesday Sep 15 2010
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
By: Dr. Surekha Reddy, Special to The News Messenger
Research suggests that skipping breakfast changes the way our brain works and could diminish school performance, especially in children who are already poorly nourished. While further research is needed to pin down the relationship between morning nutrition and academic achievement, it’s safe to assume that the estimated 12 percent of American students who skip breakfast are missing out on an important key to success in school. Breakfast gives people of all ages the energy and nutrients they need after a good night’s sleep. To give children the best start for the day, make sure they have a complete, nutritious breakfast. Try a little planning to ensure that your kids start the day with a good nutritional base. Each evening before bedtime, set out the items you’ll need the next morning for breakfast, such as dishes, utensils, cereal and bread. In the morning, simply add a serving of fruit and low-fat milk to quickly create a nutritious, balanced breakfast. Even short-term hunger caused by skipping breakfast can reduce your kids’ attention span and affect their ability to concentrate. By making sure your kids eat breakfast, you can help them remain alert and able to perform well at school. It’s an easy way to ensure that your kids stay creative and energetic throughout the day. Skipping breakfast makes it hard for children get the nutrients they need throughout the day to grow, learn and stay healthy. Kids need to eat foods that provide not just energy but also vitamins, protein and calcium to build strong bones and healthy bodies. Children who skip breakfast are less likely to get enough foods with the recommended amounts of needed minerals and vitamins. It’s a serious issue for growing bodies because kids who skip breakfast generally don’t make up for these missed nutrients at other meals. To learn more about the importance of variety, moderation and balance in food choices, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s updated food guide pyramid plan, available online at www.mypyramid.gov. This tool encompasses differences in food preferences and physical activity among various segments of the population. Dr. Surekha Reddy is a Sutter Medical Group pediatrician.