4 Dos and Don’ts for Breakfast on School Days
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when your brain needs fuel, proper nutrition can get the job done. Here are 4 dos and don’ts to help you and your child/teen get going…
1. DON’T Skip Breakfast.
Keeping your blood sugar stable is one key factor to staying focused. Skipping breakfast allows your blood sugar to plummet, thereby causing symptoms not compatible with learning like a lack of focus, irritability, nausea, headaches, and more.
DO: Eat Breakfast.
Ideally, you can sit down and have a healthy breakfast before you leave for school, but if that isn’t possible, prepare a grab and go breakfast to eat or drink in the car or once you arrive to school. If you just have a difficult time eating within 2 hours of waking up, drink a glass of room temp lemon water (fresh lemons), which will aid in digestion, elimination, metabolism and ideally make you able to eat sooner. If your brain isn’t awake, it will be difficult to learn.
2. Don’t Eat Cereal or Other Refined Carbohydrates.
This includes cereal, pop-tarts, pancakes, waffles and muffins. Refined carbohydrates increase blood sugar, which causes the crash and burn feeling later. Spikes and crashes can both cause distractibility.
DO: Eat Protein and/or Fats.
Keep blood sugars stable by eating proteins and fats which sustain blood sugars and brain stamina. Breakfast proteins and fats could include eggs, meats (free range, nitrate and hormone-free), nuts, nut butters, non-dairy milks and yogurts. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fats don’t make you fat, and they help keep you satiated longer than a carbohydrate.
3. Don’t Drink Orange Juice or Other Sugary Fruit Juices
The juice of the fruit contains all of the sugar, rapidly increasing blood sugars.
DO: Eat Whole Fruits.
There is nothing wrong with having fruit in the morning, as long as you eat the fruit whole versus juicing it. The fiber in the fruit helps in stabilizing blood sugar so there isn’t a spike and crash like when drinking a fruit juice (orange juice) in pure juice form. You can combine the fruit with a non-cow-dairy kefir, non-cow-dairy yogurt or nut/seed butter. Goat kefir, goat, sheep, or coconut yogurt are non-cow-dairy options.
4. Don’t Eat Cow Dairy or Gluten (protein in wheat containing products)
Many people are unaware that they have sensitivities to casein (in cow dairy) and gluten. Casein and gluten can both act as exogenous opiates, meaning they can be addictive and cause various behaviors not conducive to learning in people who are sensitive to them. In addition, cow dairy can cause inflammation and mucous, and gluten containing products are usually refined carbohydrates. See #2. Try avoiding these products for 4-6 weeks if your child/teen has ADD/ADHD or has difficulty with attention. If you or your child/teen notice an improvement in his/her attention, you may want to consider eliminating gluten and casein permanently from his/her diet.
DO: Try Some of the Following Breakfast Ideas:
Whole Fruits with Nut/Seed Butters
Paleo Muffins (grain free)
Paleo Pancakes (grain free)
Remember that breakfast sets the tone for your day. Make it a good one!