I’ve been slacking on the blog-writing lately 😦 Work is keeping me really busy and by the time we get done with dinner, evening family time, bedtime routine, lunchboxes ready for the morning, and making sure all my kitchen pets are taken care of…it’s already passed my bedtime. Wahhh.
Yes, kitchen pets. I’m currently keeping my sourdough starter, kombucha SCOBY (post on this next), dairy kefir grains, and ginger bug. I also started a batch of apple cider vinegar the other day…but that doesn’t really require any work and I have zero clue how it’s going to turn out. The good thing is it’s just made from apple scraps (cores and some peels), so if it totally fails…oh well!
Okay, on to the point of my post. I get side-tracked easily. My B.
I’m so proud of my boys. Summer is over and our kids started a new school year a few weeks ago. Last week I got a voicemail from my oldest son’s 2nd grade teacher. She said she was calling just to tell us how he’d been doing the first few weeks of school. It was a 47 second message about how great he’s been doing, how respectful he is, how much focus and attention he puts toward all the lessons and assignments, and how much of a blessing it is to have him in her class. My heart melted. We all know our kiddos can be a pain in the butt at home, no kid is an angel, but when you hear things like this and know they’re behaving properly outside the home, it puts my mind at ease knowing they’re not devils put on this earth strictly to give me grey hairs after all.
As if that wasn’t enough, earlier this week I got an email from my younger son’s Kindergarten teacher to all parents explaining that the class as a whole was so misbehaved and disruptive during their first library visit, that the whole class was unable to check out books. I immediately responded to see if my son had contributed at all to the chaos, and she quickly replied back. It was another heart melter. She said our little guy behaved remarkably well in the library and has never misbehaved; that he is so adorable and she looks forward to seeing his smile and bright eyes every day. She said he’s mastered all the skills she’s tested them on, and was looking forward to giving him work more appropriate for his level once she’s all done testing next week.
These messages made me so happy, but at the same time, they made me think about other children and their behavior. There are so many things that play into a child’s behavior. Fortunately, I know one that I can immediately control every morning is their breakfast (and their diet in general). Food is such an important aspect of our general state of well-being. It not only affects our overall physical health, but perhaps more importantly it contributes greatly to our mental clarity and brain development in children. Without the proper fuel, your brain simply cannot function at ideal levels.
My children have a hot breakfast every morning, but it wasn’t always like this…because seriously, who has time?! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, every few weeks I make large batches of homemade sourdough waffles and pancakes that are stored in the freezer. On a normal school morning, our children will have two silver-dollar sized pancakes or one waffle, a pasture-raised egg cooked in coconut oil or grass-fed butter, a cup of raw whole milk or homemade berry kefir, and fresh fruit. This gives them plenty of fats, protein, and carbohydrates to keep their bodies satiated, their cells nourished, and their brains functioning properly through lunchtime.
A frequent alternative to the pancakes or waffles would be overnight soaked oatmeal, or heated baked oatmeal squares mixed with whole plain yogurt. Baked oatmeal is another breakfast option I make in large batches and freeze in individual squares in big freezer bags. This is a great recipe that I use as a base and customize to my liking. Last time I made a pan of apple-cinnamon-raisin (basically as written) and another pan of berry-coconut-pecan.
On occasion, I let them “splurge” with cereal. They still have a fried egg with it, though, because cereal alone simply doesn’t cut it. Plus, you know how I feel about eggs 😉 I let them eat these Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps that I found at Costco. I’m pretty sure they think they’re Cocoa Krispies, hehe. They’ve never once complained about them, and although they’re not an IDEAL breakfast, they’re still 1,000x better than 99.9% of cereals marketed to children in this country. The cereal industry is a travesty, IMHO.
So, although I know it’s not the end all be all, I do like to think that the breakfast we feed our children contributes greatly to their behavior and performance in school. I saw a mother post a picture of her son on Facebook a while back. The child was eating breakfast on a school day, and she commented on how handsome he was, but that his attitude was terrible. The kid was super cute, and I’m sure he was just tired and cranky like I am in the morning, but I couldn’t help but notice that he was having a glazed donut and a Hi-C juice box for breakfast. I felt so sad, but unfortunately, this is the truth for many (if not most) children. Quick, on-the-go breakfasts are the norm. Overly-processed cereals full of refined sugars and artificial colors, pop-tarts, donuts, granola bars, cinnamon buns and other sugar-laden junk foods run rampant in our breakfast culture. Pair that with a glass of orange juice or chocolate milk, and you’ve probably ingested more than your entire daily allowance of sugar (which, by the way, we don’t know what it is since it is left off of nutrition labels thanks to the sugar lobbies and special interests).
I’d be interested to know the diets of the children that misbehave most in school. Are these children having mostly junk food for breakfast and nothing to actually fuel their brains? Are they reaching a sugar high and then hitting a crash, making it difficult for them to concentrate, their poor bodies working overdrive to handle all the chaos that just entered their system? Sadly, this ends up putting them in a cycle of getting into trouble, being embarrassed, and fighting with teachers and parents, which will further affect their performance and behavior. But how are they to blame when they were set up for failure from their very first meal? Parents don’t know any better, I know I didn’t. My kids used to eat Froot Loops and Trix for breakfast sometimes too. I was interested enough to learn how I could make things better, but not everyone is as interested in food as I am, and many parents just end up getting offended, which is understandable.
But here we are, spending tons of money on medications for ADD/ADHD, anger management, and tutoring, when I wonder how much of this could be corrected with simply feeding our children a nutritious whole-food diet that will actually fuel their brain so they can focus and learn in school like they’re supposed to.
What do you and your kiddos eat for breakfast?