This week I started a healthy living class at my church. The class is called Fine in 49, and it’s a 49 day program for living a more balanced, healthy, and vibrant life.
Week 1 was on nutrition and healthy eating. Of course I started out teaching the class about healthy eating by making sure they knew the most important meal of the day is breakfast! So I asked them the question, “What do you think are probably the two most consumed breakfast foods every morning by adults and especially children?” They had no problem answering correctly, cereal and pop-tarts. I went on to tell them about how unhealthy these two foods are, especially for our children. Most are sugar laden, and are loaded with all kinds of unhealthy chemicals and preservatives as well. Not only do they contain an excessive amount of sugar, but they are made with processed grains that convert to sugar in the body causing our blood sugar levels to go even higher. One of the sad things about this is that we feed these foods to our children and consume them ourselves without even thinking about the nutritional value of them or the harmful effects the toxic ingredients in these foods cause to our bodies.
In preparing for my class, I visited the grocery store and strolled up and down the aisle that contained all of these harmful breakfast foods. I picked up boxes and read the labels, and I thought to myself, “If people only knew what they were really eating, if parents only knew what they were feeding their children.” The thought occurred to me that there are millions of children right now that have started the new school year and are going to school every morning on a sugar high! Millions of these kids are being diagnosed every year with ADD or ADHD, and maybe, just maybe, these kids don’t have ADD or ADHD. They’re just on a sugar high when they get to school. You see, what happens to our bodies when we consume a high sugar food like cereal or pop-tarts is our blood sugar rises very quickly and within two to three hours it takes a sudden drop. At that point our bodies usually begin to crave more sugar or something to compensate for the lack of energy or focus. I call it needing a sugar fix! Do you think, maybe, what we’re eating can be contributing to the behavior problems and the learning problems in our schools today, more than ever in the history. This article, published on NPR, highlights several studies that concluded a protein rich breakfast to be the best for helping kids learn!
As I said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the entire day. The two foods that I’ve been talking about, cereal and pop-tarts, contain no protein, only carbohydrates and fats. Our nervous system requires protein, especially in the morning! I want everyone to know that you can and you should be eating protein every morning for breakfast. Here are my suggestions for a healthy replacement for cereal. How about two eggs and a small serving of fresh fruit, or your favorite breakfast meat and a small serving of fruit? If you’re eating a pop-tart out of convenience because you need breakfast on the go, try a protein bar instead! Preferably one made with whey protein or vegetable protein, and please note that I said a protein bar, NOT a high carb cereal bar, most of which contain no protein. Yes the protein bars are a little more expensive than a cereal bar, but is your health and the health of your child not worth it to you? Another option for a healthy breakfast is peanut butter! Check out one of the first blogs I wrote and find out why peanut butter makes an excellent breakfast! One more healthy option is oatmeal topped with nuts, cinnamon, and maybe a spoonful of berries! However be sure that you eat old fashioned oatmeal, not instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is just as sugary and processed as the cereal I’ve warned you about.
I challenge you to try my suggestions for 30 days and see for yourself the difference in how you feel, how you think, and how well you focus, and after 30 days talk to your child’s teacher and see if they’ve noticed a difference in your child! I’d be willing to bet that you’ll notice a difference in their grades. If you’re willing to accept my challenge, I’d love to hear from you in 30 days with a report of any changes you may have noticed in yourself as well as in your children. Eating healthy, of course, takes more time and more effort, if it didn’t then everyone would do it, but I guarantee you that it is and forever will be worth it. You will be glad to you were willing to spend a little extra time and put forth a little extra effort to make lasting changes for you and for your family! You can contact me at [email protected], by filling out the contact form, or by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Phil” Microphone and leaving a voice message! I look forward to hearing from you in 30 days!
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