Ah, the morning rush. Trying to get to work on time while also making sure every child is fed breakfast, has brushed their teeth, packed a lunch, and has their homework. We know it can be easy to toss your kids a pop tart or hot pocket as they run out-the-door.
We are Mom’s too!
But there is a good reason to make sure your kids have a nutrient-dense, vitamin breakfast as often as possible.
How Sugar, Processed Foods, Refined Carbohydrates Impact Brain & Body
Foods that are processed, contain high levels of sugar or preservatives, and refined carbohydrates (think white bread and cereals) have been shown to negatively impact our physical energy, mood, and yes, brain activity. In addition to promoting unhealthy weight gain, the above foods can also be attributed to:
- Upset stomach – Many of these foods are hard to digest often leading to a sour tummy, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Food fatigue – Because they are hard to digest, the body has to work harder and expend more energy to break the foods down. This, in turn, can cause something known as “food fatigue” making kids feel sluggish.
- Sugar Crash – This is what happens when the body rapidly produces insulin in an attempt to keep sugar levels consistent. This causes blood glucose to decrease, which results in a sudden drop in energy levels, also known as hypoglycemia, or a sugar crash
- Foggy feeling – A vitamin B-12 deficiency can bring about brain fog. If you have food allergies or sensitivities, brain fog may develop after eating certain foods.
- Hungry sooner – The above foods are often not rich in protein, nutrients, or vitamins the body craves. As a result, your child will feel hungry faster.
Ideal Breakfast Foods that Boost Mind & Body
There are so many great breakfast options designed to keep your children and family feeling sharp in the morning. Many don’t even involve a lot of prep time prior to serving. For breakfast items, look for foods that contain high levels of vitamins, key nutrients, protein (plant or meat-based), and some fiber or probiotics to support gut health.
Here are a few ideas:
- Probiotic Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt (try Stonyfield) serve with berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
- All-natural Granola served over a preferred milk (great substitute for boxed cereals)
- Scrambled Eggs (add veggies like broccoli, bell peppers, feta cheese)
- Power Smoothies (plant-protein powder, berries, banana, spinach)
- Nut butters on multi-grain bread or include in power smoothies!
- Overnight Oats
If you’re in a rush:
- Whole grain protein waffles or pancakes served with berries, local honey, or nut butter instead of syrup.
- Granola bar (Kashi, Made Good, and Kind Bars are low sugar; high protein and fiber).
- Strawberry Ricotta Toast (spread whole-grain toast with ricotta cheese and top it with sliced strawberries)
- Avocado Toast on a multi-grain bread
Food & Gluten Sensitivities
If your child is eating a healthy breakfast most mornings, but still feels sluggish, foggy, or has an upset stomach, it could be a sign of a food allergy or gluten sensitivity. While it might be uncomfortable and require diet modifications, gluten intolerance is not detrimental to your child’s health. It is manageable and treatable.
If you liked this article by Thrive Pediatrics, you might also like:
–5 Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity in Children