bowl-of-muesli-for-breakfast-with-fruits-100151248You’ve heard it before:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  For your children, it gets their “motors” (and their bowels) going and provides energy for their bodies and brains to perform well in school. As Michele G. Sullivan points out, eating a healthy breakfast could prevent your children from developing a serious chronic disease by the time they are parents:

Moms have a new weapon in the Breakfast Wars: Eat now or you’ll be sorry when you’re (kind of) old.

A new study based on 27 years of regular follow-up exams determined that teens who skip breakfast – or who fill up on sweets every morning – are almost twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome at age 43 than are those who chow down in the morning, according to Maria Wennberg of Umeå (Sweden) University and her colleagues.


Participants in the study were placed into three groups:  The “skippers” ate no breakfast when they were 16 years of age; the second group admitted eating sweet drinks or treats (cookies and donuts) for breakfast; and the third groups reported eating a “healthy” breakfast (eggs, meats, fish, milk products, cereals, dark breads, fruits and vegetables).  Twenty-seven years later:

When these youngsters reached the ripe old age of 43 years, they underwent a detailed physical exam that included weight, height, and girth measures; blood pressure; and a lipid profile. They also answered lifestyle questions. More than a quarter (27%) had metabolic syndrome. Men were more likely to have it than women (34% vs. 19%).

Compared with the breakfast-eaters, the skippers and sweets-eaters had significantly higher alcohol and tobacco intake and exercised significantly less. Their levels of central obesity, triglycerides, and fasting glucose were higher, as was blood pressure. In the unadjusted analysis, they were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome (odds ratio, 2.25).



There are many children and teenagers who don’t start their school day with breakfast.  Parents should not allow them to make this serious mistake.  Some kids complain that eating breakfast makes their stomachs hurt.  What they are really saying is they have to evacuate the contents of their large intestine!  It takes time to get out of bed, get in (and out!) of the shower, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and get out to the bus on time. Taking care of “business” is the last thing kids want to do when time is scarce.  They need to learn to allow that extra time in the mornings, and parents need to help them.

Don’t let your kids leave home without eating something: an apple or banana, some yogurt or peanut butter toast — even last night’s pizza!  And the more protein they get the better, so encourage them to drink the milk at the bottom of their cereal bowls.

And make sure they leave plenty of time to poop!


(Serge Bertasius Photography/