Emphatically, yes!!! We all know that the word breakfast is derived from the two words break and fast, meaning you break the fast your body experiences while asleep (unless you eat in your sleep). Food is not just fuel. Food powers our bodies, yes, but it also nourishes our organs, tissues, and especially the brain and muscles. And don’t forget water as well.
My children rarely walk out the door on school days without at least two bites of something whether it be a spoonful of organic peanut butter or an egg sandwich. We never, ever eat cold cereal in this house. Not anymore. Even when I bought cold cereal in the past it was with the stipulation that it was a snack only. My kids would open a box of $4-5 cereal and it was gone within minutes (with three big sons partaking). If you take a couple of minutes to read the labels on cereal boxes, even so-called healthy cereals, they are complex messes of carbohydrates (which are not bad, by the way), simple sugars (which can be bad), preservatives, genetically-modified ingredients (usually soy, canola or corn derived), and chemicals with very little fat because Americans have been brainwashed into believing that low-fat is healthy.
Children need fat for fuel and for their brains to function and grow properly. Are there good fats and bad fats? I think the only bad fats are those made from genetically-modified crops such as soy, canola or corn oils. This is a huge area of disagreement among foodies, nutritionists, cardiologists, and especially the corporate food companies who are in bed with the chemical companies who want you to buy low-fat foods which use chemicals to replace the fat. Fat also helps slow the digestion and release of carbohydrates from foods into the bloodstream. Imagine eating a lollipop that is just sugar and no fat. That sugar is released almost immediately into the bloodstream increasing blood sugar levels quickly. Imagine a chocolate covered peanut. Now you have sugar, complex carbohydrates (legumes), and fat. The fat actually slows the release of the sugar from the chocolate. Additionally, you have complex carbohydrates and protein from the peanut which provide a slower type of fuel for the body. So should you drink low-fat milk or whole milk? Whole milk is better. The fat in the milk helps the body deal with the sugar in the milk. Think about it. But then again, do humans need to drink cow’s milk at all? That is another discussion.
My point is that you need to throw out the donuts, pop-tarts, sugary cereals as breakfast foods. As deserts after a meal that was full of protein and fats they are fine in moderation (as long as they do not contain GMOs, artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives). As the first fuel of the day for the body, or the food that is used to break a fast, they are horrible.
That said, I often bake muffins for my boys’ breakfasts. And although they contain sugar, it is raw sugar contained within a whole wheat (complex carbs) flour base along with eggs, milk/whey/yogurt, with the addition of chia seeds and/or fruit. These are not the kind of muffins you find at the donut shop. These are really healthy muffins.
What is our number one school morning breakfast food? Egg sandwiches. I toast homemade whole wheat bread in the toaster (which I then butter). In my big cast iron skillet I melt a tablespoon or two of lard, fry up some ham, sausage or sometimes no meat (as has been the case this week because one of the boys at all of the Applegate ham which is typically preserved for breakfast sandwiches) and one egg per child. I layer the meat, egg, and either provolone or cheddar cheese on the toast for a hot, healthy, protein-rich breakfast. Four out of five breakfasts are egg sandwiches on school days.
On weekends the boys usually stagger awake and make their own breakfasts. Usually 2-4 eggs, bacon, homemade sausage, toast, salsa, whatever we have on hand.
On really rushed mornings where everything goes wrong I will make a peanut butter and jam or honey sandwich and give each boy half as they are rushing out the door. I tell them that they must take two bites. Sometimes they get one-quarter of such a sandwich when I know they won’t eat the whole thing. The goal is to stimulate their metabolism so they do not fall asleep in class and to give them enough fuel and nourishment for their bodies until they can eat their homemade lunches.
Breakfast Menu Ideas:
- Egg sandwiches
- Peanut or nut butter and preserves, jelly or raw honey sandwiches
- Smoothies – whole milk yogurt, raw honey, fruit, vanilla extract
- Healthy protein-rich muffins and butter or cream cheese
- Dinner leftovers
- Whole grain pancakes with eggs (need that protein to help with the carbs)
- Eggs, bacon, sausage, whole grain toast
- Breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs, potato, salsa, onions, spinach, cheese whatever you have on hand on a whole wheat tortilla or flat bread
- Bowl of black beans, brown rice and melted cheese
Breakfast is essential. Don’t let your kids go to school or start their day without it. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss some of my kids’ favorite breakfast recipes.