Have you heard that the theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been debunked? For years I’ve operated under the assumption that skipping breakfast was the ticket to obesity, failure in school, and overall bad parenting. Well, apparently, some experts now believe that we’ve placed a little too much emphasis on breakfast foods, and they’re backtracking on some of the claims they’ve made over the years.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped us as a family from making breakfast a “thing.” This year we’ve been doing something a little different. We’ve taken a page from Kim’s book, and we’re doing delicious family breakfasts together. And we love it. We’ve seen TONS of benefits from making breakfast a memorable, special, family meal that we enjoy together every morning.
We started doing breakfast because, frankly, we were unable to have dinner together as a family. Craig’s work schedule changed a little over this past year. Now he’s getting home even later, and it was challenging for our family. My little kids were hungry for dinner early, so afternoons turned into these long stretches of intermittent snacks. I felt anxious for most of those hours too. I was still anticipating dinner as this big production when Craig got home. I love eating together as a family, but putting together a dinner for six people is a lot of work. And because dinner was late, it meant that I had a bunch of grumpy, tired, hungry little kids to wrangle while preparing this big meal!
What really killed dinner, though, were the kids’ activities. James and Luke and their various sports, scouts, and extracurricular activities meant that when we looked at the family calendar at the beginning of the week, we were lucky if there were one or two days a week AT MOST that everyone would actually be home at the same time!
We needed a new plan. I started really missing our family togetherness and felt that I needed to find a way to make it work. Then inspiration hit me: Breakfast. Because Craig was going into work later, he would actually be around when the kids were awake. That small half-hour slice (yes, that’s all there is!) of the day was consistent. We were all there in the house together every single morning. There was our little slice of family togetherness!
So we started eating breakfast together. I’ve seen A LOT of benefits. I see five main categories:
- Our breakfast together is a time of shared values. We come together at the start of the day, and we talk about what is ahead. We pray, and we talk about what matters to us, what matters to the kids. We listen. We lift each other up.
- We develop the good habit of nice manners. Eating just snacks all day doesn’t really encourage good table manners. I have found, too, over the years of carefully watching WHAT James eats that I haven’t been the best at watching HOW he eats. Eating together, formally, allows us as parents to make sure we’re teaching the niceties of eating in company.
- We’re helping the boys build responsibility. Before meals, I’m starting to have them help set the table, and afterward they’re learning to clear, clean the table, put away the food, and sweep the floor. We’ll get them on dishes before you know it. (Yes, it is totally time for them to start assuming more responsibility!)
- Next, there’s better nutrition. Eating a meal—a planned, organized meal—IS a proven way to eat healthier. I try to involve the kids in my discussions about what constitutes a good meal, what helps you feel full, and in the case of James, what helps you maintain in-range blood sugar throughout the day.
- Finally, there’s the aspect of extra time. We just relish that time together as a family.
We love doing breakfast together. We recognize that dinner still works best for lots of families, but it wasn’t working for us! This little tweak, making breakfast our main meal of the day, has made all the difference.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.