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Myth 1: Skipping Meals Will Help Me Get Fit

Pediatric Fitness

Myth 1: Skipping Meals Will Help Me Get Fit

There are many misconceptions about proper nutrition and exercise. Nutritionists from the Pediatric Fitness Clinic explore different myths and misconceptions, the truth behind them, and offer suggestions for what you can do instead.

Myth: Skipping meals will help me to get fit.

Truth: People who skip meals often eat more later to make up for the meal they missed.

Eat a balanced breakfast. You will find that you have more energy, can think clearly, and will find that you are not as hungry at the next meal time.Generally speaking, people who skip meals will compensate for it by overeating later. This is what some of the nutritionists in the Pediatric Fitness Clinic call "Lick the Refrigerator" syndrome -- you become so hungry that you eat everything in sight, filling your stomach before your mind realizes it is full. When you get this hungry, you tend to pick things to eat that are easy to grab, highly processed and not nutritious for your body. If you avoid feeling starved, you can control your cravings better, eat slower and make healthier choices.

Try This Instead

Eat a balanced breakfast. You will find that you have more energy, can think clearly and will find that you are not as hungry at the next meal time. An extra benefit is that you may actually start to perform even better in school because your brain is being fed!

Parental Advice

First and foremost, lead by example. Have breakfast yourself in the morning. If possible, have everyone sit down and eat together. If this is not realistic, make sure that you have nutritious food in the house for breakfast.

Try to offer food that is not high in sugar, as sugar will make your child feel very hungry mid morning.  If you like cereal, chose one that doesn't turn their milk a different color and has some fiber to help them stay full. Look at the sugar content on the nutrition information chart provided on the box. 4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp of sugar. Don't buy cereal that has over 6 grams of sugar per serving.

Have fruit available to add to the cereal or eat on its own.

Peanut butter is a great source of protein and a little spread on some whole wheat bread paired with a glass of milk or small glass of juice will help keep your child full.

A great grab and run breakfast is string cheese and a piece of fruit. By pairing a carbohydrate, protein and fat together, you will be keeping your child's brain nourished throughout the morning, which helps them concentrate during their morning classes and make it to lunch without feeling weak, tired and famished.

Be careful with breakfast or granola bars. Make sure that they have no more than 6 grams of sugar and a minimum of 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. The lower the sugar and higher the protein and fiber in the bar, the better choice it will be. Remember, anything that comes in a wrapper that you can eat going out the door, needs to be evaluated. Does it have a high sugar content? Is it really a candy bar in disguise? Will it make your child REALLY hungry in an hour or so?