Masters of Health Magazine January 2018 - Page 63

Recently, I have spoken in classrooms with children ages twelve through eighteen. A breakfast meal is the foundation for the entire day of learning. I asked the important question, “What did you eat for breakfast?” Most answered they did not have breakfast. A breakfast for most was a bottle of Arizona black tea (with 25 grams of sugar in one can) with a protein nut bar or a bowl of cereal loaded with sugar. The kids are usually in school from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm most days.

The next question asked, “What did you have or are planning to have for lunch?” In a class of thirty students, one did bring a healthy sandwich she made for herself, one ate lunch in the school cafeteria and the third student brought a protein bar which was high in sugar and lacking in nutrition. The other 27 students did not bring food with them and did not enjoy eating in the school cafeteria. The students did not have any food until returning home after 3 pm.

Family meal planning begins while shopping in the market and reading the all the labels of cereal boxes, bottled drinks, frozen foods, quick snacks and breakfast bars. When you reach for a familiar food product be aware the copy on the front of the box is an advertising ploy. Begin by reading the ingredient list and read it carefully. For instance, Honey Nut Cheerios is America’s best-selling breakfast cereal. Three of the top six ingredients are sweeteners: sugar, brown sugar and honey. Previously, I assumed Honey Nut Cheerios was slightly sweeter than original Cheerios. You learn more when you compare the two boxes, the Honey Nut Cheerios has nine times the amount of sugar as regular Cheerios per serving. Sugar cereals have been linked to the “nation’s childhood obesity epidemic”(1). By the way, Honey Nut Cheerios has no nuts at all, only an almond flavor.

Remember to check the nutrition facts on the package. You will notice the portion amount per serving by weight and volume. When you are pouring your cereal or eating your ice cream, it’s necessary to measure the amount you are eating according to the portion size, the calories, sodium, fiber and sugar. Most portion sizes are ¾ cup, previously they were one cup portions. The portion sizes have recently been reduced so the manufacturer could show on the label a lower amount of calories and nutrients.(2)

In addition, when buying packaged food products, always check the ingredients section of a product, which is where you will find more accurately what products contain.

When planning your meals, avoid packaged or processed foods. Instead, prepare meals containing whole foods that are beneficial for your specific genetics/blood type, age, gender, climate, etc. Consuming a high quality protein and high fiber meal the morning prevents insulin spikes and hypoglycemia throughout the day. This, in turn, makes for better brain function at school or with what ever mental work you may be doing.

(1)Environmental Working Group Report

(2)Center for Science in the Public Interest