Eating for A’s

September 9, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Breakfast is for Champions.

school_girlThree-quarters of American children decide what—if anything—they’ll eat every morning. That’s a problem.

“Even nutritional deficiencies of a relatively short-term nature will influence children’s behavior, ability to concentrate, and to perform complex tasks,” Tufts University researchers find.

Starting the day with something as easy as a cereal bar can improve memory, mood, and recall, another study shows.

Research among junior-high girls find that those who got iron and vitamin B3 (niacin) at breakfast had better memory scores. And vitamin B12 intake was linked to better grades at school.

There’s more: Eating breakfast also means kids are less likely to be overweight.

Consider the dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes. Any American child born from 2000 on has a one-in-three chance of developing what was only a few years ago known as adult-onset diabetes.

Starting the day off right with a good breakfast has been linked to a healthy body mass index (BMI). With one-third of today’s children either overweight or fast becoming overweight, that’s important since packing on the pounds leads to type 2 diabetes.

For young people with a family history of diabetes, a healthy breakfast stalls surges in blood sugar. Recent Swedish research finds that whole-grain breakfast cereal helps balance blood sugar throughout the day.

Boys who eat cereal for breakfast have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as a lower BMI. And college women who skip breakfast experience irregular periods and menstrual problems.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Parents need to talk with their kids about the importance of good nutrition. It’s essential for children to understand why they need a good breakfast—and to have plenty of healthy foods from which to choose.

With today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s critical to have a comprehensive plan in place with a detailed shopping list of healthy foods your kids will actually eat. Navigating through the thousands of products on store shelves can be a daunting task, but a few simple tips can help:

  • Buy fiber-rich cereals with no added sugar and provide fruit (bananas, berries, sliced peaches) and flax seeds or nuts to toss on top.
  • Read labels: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon.   (The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day. I think 2 teaspoons is plenty!)
  • Keep almond, rice, or soy milk on hand to add to cereal or as boxed drinks for kids’ lunches.
  • Hard boil free-range eggs for quick breakfasts and healthy snacks.
  • Whip up smoothies with protein powder, fresh or frozen fruit, and yogurt with live, active cultures.
  • Keep energy bars that are low in sugar and high in fiber on hand. Some brands are beginning to add essential fatty acids.
  • Not every child likes standard breakfast foods. If yours doesn’t, offer him soup or a sandwich with whole-grain bread instead.

Making time to buy and prepare quality food does take effort—at least initially. But the payoff is enormous.

Well-nourished children have more robust immune systems. Their concentration is sharper and they head to school ready to learn. Kids’ moods remain more stable—something parents of teens can especially appreciate. And children are less likely to have problems with constipation.

As parents, you put great effort into raising healthy children. When you make healthy eating a priority, those efforts pay off by giving your kids important ingredients for success!

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Kimberley

    Thank you. Ever since reading your book, I have been looking for some good information about how to help my children, particularly my 8 year old son, with nutrition issues. He has severe ADHD, had serious GERD as a baby (and has never eaten well), is recovering from encopresis that went undiagnosed for too long and will just starve himself to death before he eats any nuts or anything else that is good for him.

    I know he must have gut problems but I am having a devil of a time finding support beyond medication and “wait until he matures.” It is driving me mad.

    Do you know of a book geared toward children I can get or, even better, a way of finding a good doctor/naturopath/nutritionist in Houston? I need help.

  2. terri

    Hi…I have seen you on KnowTheCause. I am curious as to why you are recommending whole grain cereals…when you and Doug say grains are not good to consume. Just wondering…

  3. Helen

    I am wondering the same thing?

  4. Jennifer

    I’m also wondering about the recommendation to feed kids soymilk? ALG, you and other enlightened nutritionists have always warned against unfermented processed soy products.

  5. Katie


    Did you know that when a child recieves the immunization shot at the age of 2 years old that some of the shots are contriversial. And some of the children end up from being normal to becoming AUTISTIC. I have read that by taking out of the diet the GLUTEN which is found in bread, and taking out dairy (because of the casean in dairy), and taking out all dyes out of the diet that the children will return to some kind of normal.

  6. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Hi There:
    My book The Gut Flush Plan will be of help to you, Kimberly.
    With regard to the concern about whole grains, Terri, I favor organic brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth cereals and mixtures. The problem with “mycotoxins” as I see it is mostly connected to corn. Gluten is a concern with wheat, rye, and barley based products, of course.
    Jennifer: Good catch re the soymilk. While it can be used occasionally, it is not my Number 1 choice because of the copper content. I really would prefer organic cream diluted with water and made into a milky consistency OR the Fat Flush Whey Protein Powder or the Fat Flush Body Protein.

  7. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Friends:
    I would love to answer each and every single one of your queries, as I have done to the best of my ability, in the past. The popularity of this Blog has grown to the extent that I can no longer provide that service but I am in the planning stages of an Internet – TV show where you can call in and get those questions answered by me in person! Please stay tuned for this exciting development. I first must complete a new manuscript and then will make some exciting announcements. In the interim, may I suggest that if you have questions about products, call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353. The folks there are helpful and will direct you accordingly. If you are concerned about a particular health condition, then by all means check out the Testing Kits on my site which will help you to determine underlying causes. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest!


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