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Say 'Aaah' | Kid Health

Recipe for Better Breakfast

October 16, 2000|EMILY DWASS

Do you usually skip breakfast? If so, you're not alone. A lot of kids don't eat in the morning.

Some learn to do without breakfast from their parents, who gulp a cup of coffee as they bolt out the door.

If an adult misses breakfast, it's not that big a deal. But for kids, who are still growing, all three meals are important. Eating something nutritious in the morning gives your body the fuel to get going. Studies have found that kids who eat before school have better concentration in class.

But often kids are simply too rushed and stressed to sit down at the table.

"Kids can be anxious in the morning, and that can affect appetite," says Polly Nelson, a pediatric dietitian at UCLA. "If you're nervous, you don't want to eat."

Finishing homework, finding your shoes and running to catch the bus can make you tense, so you should try doing as much as possible the night before. Also, you can set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier to make the morning more relaxed.

Other kids simply don't like traditional breakfast food, such as eggs, toast and cereal. If that describes you, think of something else you would enjoy. There's no law that says you have to eat toast and cereal.

"Pizza is my favorite breakfast in the whole world," says Nelson.

Leftovers from dinner can make a good morning meal. Your favorite sandwich also is fine. Anything that's healthful and tasty later in the day is all right for breakfast, too.

What about quick eats, such as granola bars or Pop-Tarts? If you have a glass of milk with them, you'll get calcium and some nutrients. Even sweetened cereal is acceptable, as long as you watch your sugar intake the rest of the day. Nelson points out that a little sugar is not bad, as long as it is balanced with fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy products.

But that doesn't mean you should dive into a box of Krispy Kremes each morning. Most doughnuts are high in fat and sugar and have little nutritional value.

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Kids and other readers can e-mail Emily Dwass at emilydwass@yahoo.com

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