Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Should Kids Eat For Breakfast? Ask Their Grandma...

I sat next to a guy on a plane,  a nice fellow, whose business it was to sell affordable packages of breakfast to USA school districts. His target student "wasn't the kid who drives a BMW to school and eats breakfast at Starbucks," but kids in cash-starved districts where they only have a shocking 75 cents on average to spend on each breakfast. With which you could possibly buy a single orange.

So what was in their breakfasts? Cereal and breakfast bars, mostly, all "USDA approved" and "organic," and nutritionally not worth the plastic packaging they were wrapped in. They hardly looked better than the snackettes that the airlines pass out these days. The man wearily pointed out that they were limited by this USDA-approval nonsense and the extremely strapped funds of the school districts, who have to feed the kids something.

Other than sugar wheat and sugar water (skim milk), what actually is a more optimal breakfast for kids? If I had to produce a neat package it would look like hard-boiled or scrambled eggs (full fat and optimally from local farms), some fruit, bacon, and maybe a coconut-milk based "green" or berrie-based smoothy.

So-called ketogenic or high-fat plus protein meals are not only more satiating and nutritious than sugar wheat and sugar water, but they have a proven calming and anti-inflammatory affect on kids with ADHD and other behavior issues. A good farm breakfast that grandma would have whipped up (maybe minus the stack of pancakes) is far better than the institutionalized breakfasts–based on dysfunctionally subsidized soy, corn, and wheat–that tens of millions of American kids are getting now. If they even get breakfast.

So who's going to pay for all this? Most people can't get a farm breakfast these days for 75 cents (those were the days). How about a couple of big philanthropies coming forward to pony up the funds (the highly philanthropic Bloomberg and The Gates Foundation come to mind). Maybe a Children's Breakfast Initiative (CBI)?