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Set the Clock for Breakfast

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health at 9:24 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
CerealThe alarm started beeping at 6:00, signaling to your teens that it was time to get out of bed. The alarm stopped beeping at 6:10, signaling to you that someone had finally found the snooze button. Ten minutes later the incessant beeping began again. You were hopeful that it would annoy at least one of them into consciousness, but that hope didn’t last long. It never does. As the bus rounded the corner 20 minutes later, you were yelling up the stairs. They were running frantically, searching for a missing sock, their calculus homework and their contact lenses. When the yellow doors opened, you shoved them towards the bus. They stumbled on, groggy but present. You heaved a sigh of relief. You had once again managed to get them to school clothed, presentable (or close to) and on time. You couldn’t feasibly try for anything more . . . but you should. You should try for breakfast.

A study of more than 2,000 adolescents found that those who regularly ate breakfast in the morning were healthier than those who skipped it. The teens exercised more, had lower body mass indexes and were, on average, five pounds lighter. These betterments resulted in overall betterment, which meant lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and higher levels of the vitamins and minerals needed for proper development, such as fiber.

But how are you expected to get your teens to stop for breakfast when they barely have time to open their eyes before you push them out the door? You could cram Pop Tarts, doughnuts or individually wrapped pastries into their hands, but that seems rather counterproductive. You want them to have both breakfast and a healthy meal. So you should prepare ahead of time – or they should. One or both of you should find ways to have a quick and nutritious on-the-go breakfast ready in the mornings. A peanut butter sandwich and a banana could easily be made the night before and stored with lunch in a backpack. A breakfast bar, which works for you, could also work for them. Try to include fruit, whole grains and protein, and try to limit exorbitant amounts of sugar. You want your teens to wake up the good way not the Coo Coo for Coco Puffs way.

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