What does breakfast look like at your house? A quick toaster pastry or fast food sandwich? Or, perhaps there’s no breakfast at all. If so, your family is part of a growing trend that could have negative consequences. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association* reports that breakfast is often a non-meal – 20 percent of children and 32 percent of adolescents were found to be breakfast skippers.
Children and teenagers are increasingly leaving the house in the morning without eating a nutritious breakfast, and less than 20 percent of breakfast meals eaten at home include milk, according to The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends. That’s why the national Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign is putting the spotlight on breakfast – and reinforcing the importance of adding lowfat or fat free milk to the morning meal.
“If your kids don’t make the most of this opportunity in the morning, then they’ll likely not make up for it later in the day,” said registered dietitian and blogger Liz Weiss, who is one of The Meal Makeover Moms, along with Janice Newell Bissex. “One of the best ways to be sure you’ve got all their bases covered is to pour a bowl of cereal with low fat milk. It’s not only easy, quick and affordable, but it’s one of the most nutrient-rich choices you can make. If kids don’t have milk in the morning, it’s unlikely they’ll get the three servings they need each day.”
The new study, conducted by researchers at the Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, found that children and teens who consumed ready-to-eat cereal for breakfast were more likely to have better quality diets and healthier weights.
Using national data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found:
- Compared to breakfast skippers, children and teens who ate cereal in the morning had higher intakes of almost all vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins along with calcium, potassium and magnesium – three shortfall nutrients that are found in milk.
- The cereal eaters also consumed more essential nutrients and less sodium, compared to those who selected other foods for breakfast.
“Breakfast should provide about one-third of the day’s nutrients, but it serves an additional role that’s vitally important for kids,” said Weiss. “The nourishment and energy that a good breakfast provides helps to unlock your child’s potential as they head back to school. They simply cannot perform as well in the classroom – or the playing field – without a nutritious morning meal.”
The Meal Makeover Moms have a couple of tips for starting each day off on the right foot and building a strong family:
- Think ahead: After dinner, have one child clear the table and help with dishes as you (or another child) prep the table for the morning. Have him set the table with placemats, napkins, bowls, spoons and cereal boxes as part of your dinner wrap-up routine. When the alarm sounds in the morning, add lowfat milk to have a nutritious start to the day.
- Establish a “Morning Zone:” What does each family member need the next morning – and is it gathered up? Putting all critical items into an established “morning zone” can eliminate a lot of headaches during the morning rush. When the “Zone” is clear in the morning, your family is cleared for take-off.
For more tips and information on making the most of your morning meals, visit www.whymilk.com.
* Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:869-878.
If you believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, here’s how you can make sure all kids have breakfast with the Kellogg’s Share Your Breakfast program. It’s easy and it doesn’t cost you one cent!
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