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The Most Important Meal?

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I understand that breakfast is the most important part of the day. I agree with the theory that a healthy and productive day starts by fueling your body, which kick-starts your metabolism, giving your body the energy it needs to face the day. This idea really has merit, so I feel validated sharing it with my kids each morning. “Kids have growing bodies that need fuel,” I tell them. “You’re brain is hungry, even if your tummy isn’t.” Eventually, if the scientific approach fails me, I resort to bribery.For me, though, the breakfast of champions is a hot cup of coffee. Now don’t get your panties in a bunch — I do add milk, so at least I’m getting some calcium. This is, however, a point of contention when my 8-year-old, who is also not a breakfast person, decides she’s not hungry before school. Yes, it’s hard to compel her to eat a cup of yogurt or a bowl of cereal when even saying those words around 7:00 a.m. make me want to throw up a little.

Luckily, my six-year-old would prefer to eat breakfast for every meal of the day — often eating what appears to be her own weight in waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal. My older daughter also likes those items, but at a more respectable brunch time schedule, with which I can wholeheartedly support. Unfortunately, our school schedule does not yet provide a brunch break, (cretins!) so we’re left to face this dilemma most school mornings.

For a while, I could fool my eldest into drinking a yogurt smoothie, since it is technically a drink, not a bowl or plate of actual solid food. But, to my dismay, smoothies have gone out of favor recently. Now, she is resorting to waking up earlier and putzing around in her bedroom, letting her stomach wake up on its own. While I’m not pleased that she elects to lose some beauty sleep, at least now she’s able to eat some breakfast before school.

Luckily, most days she has the good grace to have inherited her father’s cheery morning disposition; which, while somewhat annoying to a non-morning person like myself, serves to give her stomach a head start to waking up and accepting food. At least my husband, Mr. Cheerful, eats breakfast. As he sits down next to the girls with what looks to me like a vat of lumpy, nasty ickiness that he claims is oatmeal, I’m able to drink some coffee in a dark corner, appreciating that he can “take one for the team.”

While my family eats breakfast, I can busy myself loading lunch bags and library books into backpacks, doing pet-related duties, or working on a never-ending pile of dishes and laundry. Finally, the mom-card works in my favor, as I dodge the breakfast bullet yet again. Soon enough, it’s time to walk the girls to the bus stop, and a bout of breakfast-inspired nausea has been postponed to another day. But remember: Breakfast is very important, so make sure to eat it at some point during the day.

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