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Ah, breakfast – a meal that we enjoyed as children, tried to skip as adolescents, have practically no time for as adults; and yet, swear by, as parents!
Growing up we have all heard our parents insist that we have breakfast first thing in the morning if we have to be healthy; but it is only when we become parents ourselves that we actually understand the importance of it. It is only as a parent that we even begin to appreciate the benefits of not skipping breakfast in the morning! But of course, by then, our children have grown up and decided they aren’t interested in breakfast anymore.
The truth is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and has long term health benefits that are second to none. And among the many benefits of breakfast, the most important ones are –
Breakfast gives our brain and body, the fuel it needs to face the day.
Breakfast provides the essential nutrients to our body and helps restore glucose levels.
Breakfast helps improve concentration and memory; lowers stress levels and even improves our mood!
So what do we do? We insist that our children have their breakfast before they are off to start their day! We try our luck with the traditional breakfasts, only to find that it is difficult for the little ones to gobble up parathas or idlis (no matter how soft) first thing in the morning; especially if the school timings are really early.
So then we do the next best thing – we get breakfast cereals for them! Of course, ready to eat cold cereal works best for us too, especially on rushed mornings – no cooking needed, not even boiling milk – and as if that wasn’t enough, the packets say the cereals are made of whole grain! What more do we want? And as an added bonus, all we have to do, is get a few variants so that everyday our children eat a different flavour, making them just love their breakfast! Right?
Well, I was exactly of this opinion till a few days back. In fact, I believed that the cereals I was giving my little one were helping him stay full and satisfied till his snack break (which is a good two hours after he leaves home). But turns out, it’s not cereals but actually oats that can do the trick.
You see, I happened to read an article that mentioned a study published in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition which showed that it was breakfasting on oatmeal that gave people the feeling of fullness and lesser cravings for snacks for up to four more hours (compared to an oat-based cereal).
Not only that, but the article (and a bit of further reading up on the subject) revealed the following salient points in favour of oats, making oats, and not cereals; the best thing that a mother can give her family for breakfast –
Oats can ensure that your family gets fiber and nutrition for the body first thing in the morning.
Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fibres that can do wonders for our heart and colon.
The fiber contained in oats helps us feel full and satisfied.
Oats is the best gluten-free breakfast that is also packed with nutrients and minerals
Oats contain essential minerals for the body such as iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, thiamin, zinc, iron, phosphorous and so on.
Oats reduces the risk of diseases; helps improve blood sugar and can lower cholesterol levels
Oats has nutrients and fibers that help in reducing the risk of several diseases like high BP and Type 2 Diabetes.
Oats also helps improve your blood sugar level and helps in reducing cholesterol, thereby helping in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well.
Oats may also be responsible in reducing the risk of childhood Asthama; and even skin irritation!
Early exposure (as early as infancy) to this miracle grain is known to reduce the risk of childhood Asthma in children.
Oats also acts as a soothing agent by helping alleviate itching or irritation of the skin.
Oats is basically known to enhance the immune response to disease.
Oats contains a unique fiber known as beta-glucan that helps eliminate infection causing bacteria from the body.
It’s a dream come true for any parent! A breakfast that helps build a sturdy immune system for their child!
But despite all these advantages, there is one thing that probably works in favour of cereals and against oats – cereals are tastier and easier on the palate! Because most cereals are packed with sugar and flavourings; and also come in interesting shapes – loops, moons, starts etc. – naturally, they are more appreciated, especially by children.
But I have found that oats too can be prepared differently every day by using fresh fruit, dry fruits, nuts etc. along with oats; or even spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg for seasoning; thereby giving you a different flavoured breakfast every morning! And as for the time constraints of a rushed morning; well, you could soak oats, flax seeds, nuts or fruit bits in milk overnight in your fridge to have a no-cook ready-to-eat breakfast in the morning!
So all-and-all, I have finally understood that with all its long term health benefits; it is definitely worth the time it takes to put together a serving of Quaker oats for my family in the morning.