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  • Isabel Quelendrino, M.D., pediatrician at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, explains that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It “breaks the fast” that the body went through from the last meal the day before (dinner) to the next meal of the following day. “Eating breakfast is like refueling our bodies. It provides one quarter to one third of our energy requirement and revs up our bodies to burn more calories throughout the day,” she adds.

    Skipping breakfast, she warns, may result in lower metabolism and eventually, weight gain.When you don’t eat breakfast, your body conserves more energy as it goes on fasting mode, breaking down and using the proteins you have in reserve. By lunch, you’ll be so hungry that you might go on a bingeing spree.

    Kiddie meal
    Children, more importantly, need breakfast. By sticking to this morning ritual, parents can make sure that kids get good sources of vitamins and minerals; children who don’t “may become irritable, tired, sluggish, dizzy, moody, and inattentive,” warns Dr. Quelendrino. Studies have shown that children who eat healthy breakfasts regularly do better in school, she adds.
    Unfortunately, those who don’t have breakfast may eat more junk food while in school. These snacks are often high in fat and sugar, and low in nutritional value, she cautions.

    Breakfast for children is best taken early, says Dr. Quelendrino. “Between six and eight in the morning, as eating at a later time may affect their appetite for lunch,” she explains.

    Healthy start
    The best breakfast starts with food rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals and bread. “These provide the glucose necessary to make our brain work. Selections from the two other food groups should be added to make the breakfast complete—eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, fruits, peanut butter are good choices,” she says. Leftovers from dinner may also be served. If you’re looking for a meaty viand, try fish or chicken. One egg a day is okay. However, if you have a family history of hypertension, be content with three eggs a week. Poached or hard-boiled eggs are healthier alternatives.
    When making breakfast, it’s best to be creative. “Make eating a fun and pleasant experience for you and your children,” Dr. Quelendrino says.

    l Isabel Osabel-Quelendrino, M.D., pediatrician, Philippine General Hospital, Manila
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