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Ask an Expert - Kids and Breakfast

My kids aren't hungry in the morning. How important is breakfast for my family?
Ask an Expert - Kids and Breakfast

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By Ardith Brunt, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Associate Professor
Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, NDSU

Most have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Nevertheless, many people choose not to eat breakfast. The excuses (aka reasons) one does not eat breakfast are highly varied.

Fueling your body for physical and mental activity is important. Blood glucose reserves last only about 15 hours after you consumed carbohydrates. The body needs new carbohydrates after this time, especially to fuel brain activity. Research has shown that students perform better on cognitive tests after consuming breakfast.

Eating breakfast is probably just as important for adults. Eating breakfast not only fuels the brain and body, it also helps control your appetite the rest of the day. Those who eat breakfast tend to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight. If you skip breakfast, the body thinks you are starving it, so you likely will overeat or make less healthful choices for lunch. If you eat breakfast, you are not as likely to be so hungry, so you will make choices that are the most healthful.

Choosing healthful foods for breakfast is important; however, some breakfast is better than no breakfast. Choose foods that have some protein and plenty of fiber. This combination likely will keep you less hungry longer. This usually means a bowl of high-fiber cereal with milk and fruit. Try protein sources such as nuts, eggs or low-fat meats. Skip the sugary cereals, pastries, bacon and sausage because they are high in salt, saturated fat or sugar.

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