According to a Consumer Affairs article dated March 3, 2008, as many as 24 percent of all adolescents skip breakfast on a regular basis. It might seem like skipping breakfast would cause a child to consume fewer calories over the course of the day, but studies show that is not true. Believe it or not, those that skip breakfast are more likely to be obese than those that eat breakfast regularly.
How Eating Breakfast Prevents Obesity
Experts believe that eating a healthful breakfast helps prevent overeating later in the day. In addition, when people are extremely hungry they are more likely to make poor food choices so eating a good breakfast can help them make better food choices at lunch time. A healthful breakfast that provides a decent amount of protein is the best choice because it will help your child feel full and satisfied longer.
Encouraging Children to Eat Breakfast
Younger children are more likely to eat breakfast than teens. Teens are often in a hurry to leave for school and are often drowsier in the morning and simply do not feel like eating. Providing an appetizing breakfast may encourage them to eat. Ask your child what breakfast they prefer but try to avoid sugary cereals and other sweets as those may actually stimulate hunger and encourage unhealthful snacking. Something with protein is a good choice but oatmeal is also filling. You can dress up oatmeal by adding brown sugar, cinnamon, sugar free flavored syrups (the kind you would add to coffee; look for them in the coffee aisle of your grocery store) or your child’s favorite flavor of jam.
You can also offer easy to eat foods that your teen can take with him on the way to the school bus. Think about things like hardboiled eggs (you can peel them ahead of time to make them easier to eat), string cheese and fruit. Protein bars are another good choice but read the label carefully because some bars contain a lot of sugar.
Many schools now serve breakfast in the mornings but school breakfasts are often high in sugar and not particularly healthful. Check out the breakfast menu at your child’s school and if it consists of a lot of sweets, encourage the school to provide more healthful choices. You can also encourage your child to eat breakfast at home instead of at school.
The Bottom Line
Eating a healthful breakfast can help prevent childhood obesity. It can also help teens that need to lose a few pounds. Not only does it work for children and teens, it will help adults too. Adults need a good breakfast as much as kids do.
Sources:Consumer Affairs. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008/03/obesity_breakfast.html. Skipping Breakfast May Lead to Obesity.