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Is forcing your kids to eat breakfast child abuse?


The old saying, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!" has been commonly used as a great way to guide us on how to eat throughout the day.

Are we to believe that this message has been misleading us all along?

According to biochemist Professor Terence Kealey in his book Breakfast is a Dangerous Meal, we have it all wrong regarding the first meal of the day. And he suggests making kids eat breakfast could actually be doing them more harm than good. 

'If you’re worried, give them an apple or something, but the idea that you should force them to eat breakfast is a form of child abuse.’

Kealey based his facts on personal experience after curing his type 2 diabetes by skipping this meal. He believes eating breakfast increases blood glucose levels which encourages us to eat more during the day. I would suggest he may not have been eating the right kind of breakfast to start with! 

I agree that most breakfast cereals are filled with refined sugar and very little goodness, but isn’t there enough misguided information for us parents regarding food choices for our kids without this ‘expert’ piping in to put in his two bobs worth?

Honestly I think it’s absurd to suggest breakfast can be bad for our kids. Not setting boundaries early on to teach good eating habits could in fact cause more health problems in adulthood. The point here should be rather that parents need to make sure kids are starting the day by eating a good breakfast.

It is up to us to look at the labels and ensure that meals are nutritionally beneficial like making sure the sugar content is under 5-6g per serve and fibre above 7g. It does require some detective work but our kids are worth it afterall. Setting up some easy morning routines to get breakfast sorted is also a good place to start e.g. Monday and Wednesdays - smoothie day, Tuesday - avocado and toast day etc. Putting forward healthier suggestions are a much better solution instead of eliminate breakfast all together as Kealey encourages,  which lacks the substantial research and quite frankly is irresponsible advice.

green smoothiehealthy pancakessmashed avohealthy breakfast

  • Kids need boundaries - otherwise how will they get the nutrients they require? Parents need to guide food choices

  • Studies show that kids skipping breakfast affects their metabolism and is more likely to result in obesity later in life compared to their breakfast eating counterparts (1)(2)

  • Providing a good quality breakfast is important to ensures school children have the stamina and concentration levels throughout the day (3)

  • What is a good breakfast?

    Breakfast can be a nutritious smoothie filled with nuts/seeds and leafy greens, porridge topped with yoghurt and banana or wholesome pancakes made with buckwheat and topped with seasonal fruits. If you’re looking for savory options things like avocado or eggs are great on wholegrain bread with side serves of mushroom and/or tomato.

    Love,

    Cinzia Cozzolino

    BHSc (Nutritional Medicine)

     

    1. http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v34/n4/abs/ijo2009285a.html

    2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S1368980008001894

    3. http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(05)00151-3/abstract

    3 comments

    • Rich

      Professor Terence Kealey doesn’t know what hes talking about!

    • Jess

      Great read!

    • Rosalie

      Great post! Totally agree with you. It’s not about skipping a meal just because a lot of commercial options aren’t healthy, it’s about going to the effort to make sure you ARE eating the right thing. But this is totally true of all meals. You’d never suggest “don’t eat any dinner” to someone who regularly eats McDonalds for dinner. Instead you’d just tell them to switch it for something healthier. Breakfast shouldn’t be any different, right?

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