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Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking

Alison Anton's Natural Cooking Blog offers healthy recipes, inspirational food articles and culinary advice for the natural chef, and features dessert recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Desserts for Every Body.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kid's Health -- The Rotating Breakfast

One of the biggest dietary problems I see for kids (and adults) in the modern world is the addiction to refined breakfasts: boxed cereal, pancakes, rolled oats, toast, even "health bars". Yes... they're easy, they're quick, there's no clean up and they give a quick boost in energy. But what about an hour or two later? How are the kids doing in math class when the quick energy drops hard?

Kids need carbs, there's no doubt about that. My concern is that kids are getting too much refined carbohydrate in the morning and not enough long-sustaining energy foods like protein and good fats.

There's also a concern for developing food allergies and intolerances. Most kids are eating the same foods everyday for breakfast -- usually refined wheat products. Small bodies aren't quite ready to tolerate the same foods each and every day, especially allergy-triggering foods like wheat, milk and sugar. It's fine to serve boxed cereal or pancakes one or two times a week; the problems arise when the same foods are consumed every day.

The best way to address both these issues is with a rotating morning diet. This way, kids are getting a variety of foods each morning throughout the week. Here's an example:

Monday - Turkey sausage or scrambled eggs and hashed browns
Tuesday - 5-Grain Maple Mush
Wednesday - Shrek Shake
Thursday - Meat, veggie or miso soup with brown rice
Friday - Fresh Fruit with Almond Butter Cream
Saturday - Low sugar boxed cereal (mixed with nut butter for protein and fat)
Sunday - Whole wheat pancakes with flaxseed

Try the rotating breakfast for a few weeks and ask the kids how they are doing in their morning classes. Some kids will need more carbohydrate in the morning, others will fair better with more protein and fat. If you find it's too hard to rotate foods every morning, start with rotating the foods every four days.

The easiest breakfasts are yesterday's left-overs: Hearty soups with grains; hamburgers, turkey or soy patties scrambled with eggs and veggies; casseroles and even steamed vegetables from dinner last night make super weekday breakfasts in a hurry. It's only cultural conditioning that says we need to have sweet foods in the morning.

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