Recently, First Line Nutrition’s homeopath and nutritionist Pauline Rai was interviewed by Sasha Xiao with Omni News. Read the interview below, and watch for the interview on Omni News Monday, September 3rd!
Since school is around the corner, a new survey shows many
parents think preparing breakfast for their kids is a very time-
consuming and stressful thing to do.
So how important is breakfast to kids? What suggestions do
you have for parents to prepare healthy and quick breakfast? Can
unhealthy breakfast cause any issues?
Lets start off with the definition of breakfast. Literally it
means to break the fast from the night before. Nutritional experts
have referred to breakfast as being the most important meal of
the day citing studies that find that people who skip breakfast are
disproportionately likely to have problems with concentration,
memory, metabolism and weight.
-Childhood Obesity in on the rise and we need to start of with
educating parents as they are the most influential people in the
lives of their children.
Unhealthy breakfast choices that contain high sugars or starches
have GMO, or have artificial foods and additives are correlated
to food sensitivities, allergies, learning disabilities, digestive
problems, mood disorders, memory and cognitive issues.
The message should be loud and clear that dietary choices
influence disease and health in a major way. Children are going
through the building phase in the early years and need wholesome
nutrient rich foods to support growth. Breakfast should be the
most important scheduled space, which sets the tone for the entire
day. Creating that space for breakfast means that we are better
prepared to handle coping mechanisms for stress. Eating in a hurry,
running out the door, being late or just in a rush to get somewhere
affects our digestive health and the ability to cope with life
stressors. Most people I see don’t take the time to make space for
breakfast, don’t chew thoroughly, and eat too much and too many
foods at a time. It turns into a bellyache! The appetite is an inner
reflection of contentment. When we are hungry it’s hard to focus on
mental cognitive tasks. If we take that half hour each day to enjoy
our breakfast, our minds are more focused on school tasks and our
ability to handle emotions and other stressors is so much better.
I am going to skip over infancy and go right into the stages of
childhood and the influence of breakfast for brain development,
physical development and overall health.
Ages 2-12 years.
These are the important years to instill good eating habits in
children and to avoid overindulgence in refined sugars and flours
and high fat fried fast food. Although physical growth is a little
slower during this period compared to infancy or adolescent years,
mental growth is relatively rapid. Food is our body’s fuel – our
source of energy. Creating healthy eating patterns begins with
encouraging the consumption of good quality wholesome foods
which is a lot easier done when parents themselves are setting the
Q: But children love sweets, sugars and candies over vegetables,
Parents find themselves having to bribe their kids and will offer
them a reward …
A: Bribery and rewards with sweets will lessen the value of the
vegetables – instead of offering them sweets; offer something that
isn’t associated with food. And get them involved with preparing
the foods to make it fun for them as well.
Children prefer raw vegetables over cooked. Keep their diet low in
refined foods, chemical foods, and fried foods.
I will have some posted recipes on my website – special snacks for
kids and their folks, that are wholesome with a natural fruit flavor
without the added artificial dyes, coloring and additives. You can
still enjoy sweet foods in moderation without the chemicals.
For school age children, eating hot whole grain cereals provides
a good source of morning energy; some protein such as eggs also
provides sustaining energy. Adding some nuts and seeds to their
grains offers better long -term energy and nutrients.
Q: What if kids are not eating enough. They are picky …
A: Preschool kids between ages 2-5 will go through a time of slower
growth and sometimes these children will decrease their food
intake. Parents may be concerned, but usually these kids are fine.
Offer them wholesome foods. Avoid bribing. Children at this age
like to eat with their hands so offer them small pieces like finger
At ages 5-13 outside influences such as other children or media
attempt to undermine the healthy eating habits, but parents still
have the better influence by keeping up with good eating habits
and setting the example.
Adolescence 13-18 years old. Growing years …
The teenage years are a trying time in a lot of ways but especially
in terms of nutrition. Adolescence is period of high nutritional
risk, when the increased demand for nutrients is often met with
poor choices of foods, unhealthy eating habits, and deficient
intake of calories. Adolescence begins early in girls from age 10-12,
and 12-14 in boys. Physiological changes due to hormones,
create body composition shifts in muscle mass and fat mass. The
nutritional problems associated with this group are related to the
rebellious nature of these years and harder to influence regarding
dietary changes. Their diet consists of junk food, diet in simple
sugars, fried foods, fast foods.
Adding complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes
can help balance this. Teenagers who eat more refined foods
without taking supplements develop deficiencies. For example a
female’s menstrual cycle places greater demand for iron and other
Teenagers need to realize the importance of good nutrition, which
can help a great deal in promoting nice looking skin and general
good looks. Dental caries are more common in adolescence
probably because of hormonal changes, a poor diet high in refined
sugars and mineral deficiencies. A more wholesome diet promotes
Parents can help adolescents best by being supportive and
understanding. Our advice should be mild with suggestions for
avoiding certain foods and trying others. Keep nourishing snack
foods such as fruit, nuts and yogurt at hand.
Q: So how many calories do teenagers require?
A: Because adolescents are going through the growing phase, boys
require about 2800- 3150 calories depending on physical activity,
and girls require about 2000-2400 calories.
Check out some of our recipes such as Tahini Candy, Halvah, Fruit
bars and Pumpkinseed carob bars on our website: we will also
have some posted breakfast and snack ideas as well, and some are
relatively quick to prepare in under 5 minutes. Breakfast doesn’t
have to be time consuming. It should be spaced into our lifestyle
with the kids helping out.