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I have two kids - a boy aged 6 and a girl aged 8. They currently eat the usual sugary breakfast cereal every morning.

I typically cook an omelette for myself every morning. It made me wonder if I shouldn't just do the same for the kids instead of the cereal.

So I'm thinking eggs and bacon every morning. We'll see if they go for it, but I'm wondering if there's anything I should be concerned about or look out for with this?

Thanks.

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1  
This question seems more suited for fitness.stackexchange.com –  Beofett May 16 '11 at 18:00
    
I was trying to target it specifically at kids, but I see your point. Feel free to move it if necessary. I should edit the title. –  Ross Johnston May 16 '11 at 18:11
    
Kids can eat almost anything and as long as they are active, there's not a whole lot to fear. That said, these turns into habits, and bacon and eggs every day becomes a problem once you hit 30 or so. –  DA01 Jun 15 '11 at 20:24

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The sugary breakfast cereal, while less than ideal, is likely fortified with vitamins and possibly contains a good amount of fiber. The eggs and bacon, on the other hand, are high in protein and have little else in their favor -- and a lot against them. Both are high in fat and the bacon is likely high in sodium and (depending on how it was produced) has nitrates that are absolutely terrible for anybody, let alone children.

I generally feed my own children (four-year-old twin boys) plenty of fresh fruit and vegetarian sausage patties for breakfast, but I'm no health-food zealot -- we do have bacon almost every weekend, though it's a special treat and not a staple of their diet. We also make it a point to splurge on the more expensive, nitrate-free kind, which isn't a huge deal since we're not eating it every day. I also think it tastes much better than the regular supermarket bacon, as well.

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Thanks! Great comments from both you and Brian. I agree just eggs and bacon and heavy on the fat and protein, but light on carbohydrate, fiber and nutrients. Adding fruit is an easy step, so that would be good. And mixing it up from day-to-day would be good too I think - maybe oatmeal some days too. And I'll look into the vegetarian substitutes too. Thanks. –  Ross Johnston May 16 '11 at 18:03
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I eat a lot of vegetarian products now, but for health reasons rather than ethical concerns. I'd steer clear of the fake bacon (it is universally terrible, in my opinion) but fake meatballs work great for meatball sandwiches or spaghetti, fake ground beef (or "crumbles" as they're sometimes called) goes well in pasta sauce, chili, or tacos, and I greatly prefer Morningstar brand veggie sausage patties to the real thing. There's a huge amount of variation in tastes and textures between different brands, so it's definitely worth experimenting. –  Bill Clark May 16 '11 at 18:28

First and foremost, you'll want to be sure that one or both of your children aren't allergic to eggs. Chances are you'd know already, but just in case you aren't sure it might be good to find out first.

Second, eggs and bacon are about as good for your kids as they are for you... in other words, consider using an egg substitute (or mixture of whole eggs and egg whites), and perhaps turkey bacon rather than full-fat pork bacon, to stay on the healthier side of the nutritional spectrum.

Other than those two points, I see no reason not to cook a nice hot meal for your kids. It will definitely keep them fuller for longer than those sugar-laden cereals will.

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Great comments. Thanks! –  Ross Johnston May 16 '11 at 18:00
    
Agreed +1! I thought the same thing when I saw bacon everyday, I love it but that's too much for my waist-line1 –  MichaelF May 17 '11 at 16:35

In my opinion, you should feed your children at least an egg a day and you will be doing them a HUGE nutritive favor. Occasionally serving nitrate-free bacon will do no harm.

I say this because of scientific research. There is huge debate in the scientific and research communities about the role of fats in health, the role of cholesterol in heart disease and other ailments, and the relative value of dense carbohydrate consumption compared to other nutrients.

One person posted a link on About.com that suggests limiting yolks to 4 per week, hard research tells a different story:

... no relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease incidence was found. It is concluded that within the range of egg intake of this population differences in egg consumption were unrelated to blood cholesterol level or to coronary heart disease incidence.

I don't know the range of egg intake, but in 912 people you can bet some were avid egg eaters. Even if no one ate more than 4 eggs, there was no difference found at all, so where is the boundary edge where those bad-for-you eggs start to have any deleterious effect at all?

Very respected researchers are avidly speaking out against the idea that cholesterol causes disease. Cholesterol, Friend or Foe says:

In conclusion, cholesterol is one of the most important substances in the body. We cannot live without it, let alone function well. The pernicious diet-heart hypothesis has vilified this essential substance. Unfortunately, this hypothesis has served many commercial and political interests far too well, so they ensure its long survival. However, the life of the diet-heart hypothesis is coming to an end as we become aware that cholesterol has been mistakenly blamed for the crime just because it was found at the scene.

For some understanding of why "it is found at the scene:"

Our stress hormones are made out of cholesterol in the body. Stressful situations increase our blood cholesterol levels because cholesterol is being sent to the adrenal glands for stress hormone production. Apart from that, when we are under stress, a storm of free radicals and other damaging biochemical reactions occur in the blood. So the liver works hard to produce and send out as much cholesterol as possible to deal with the free radical attack. In situations like this, your blood cholesterol will test high. In short, when we have a high blood cholesterol level, it means that the body is dealing with some kind of damage. The last thing we should do is interfere with this process! When the damage has been dealt with, the blood cholesterol will naturally go down. If we have an ongoing disease in the body that constantly inflicts damage, then the blood cholesterol will be permanently high. So, when a doctor finds high cholesterol in a patient, what this doctor should do is to look for the reason. The doctor should ask, "What is damaging the body so that the liver has to produce all that cholesterol to deal with the damage?" Unfortunately, instead of this sensible procedure, our doctors are trained to attack the cholesterol.

The research I've done has led me to believe that eggs are good for you and that they are more full of nutrients than any fortified breakfast cereal. Fat in and of itself is not bad for you (though when rancid, oxidized or when containing bonds in the trans configuration instead of cis it surely is). While it has more calories per gram, it is also more satiating.

The nitrates or other preservatives in bacon certainly do speak out against its common use. There are uncured bacons available in some grocery stores (don't be fooled by celery powder, it is just a way to get nitrates in the bacon under another name). But the fat in bacon is not inherently bad for you. Want to know more? Read The Skinny on Fats. You might also be interested in The Oiling of America.

Folks, the lipid hypothesis—that consumption of fats and cholesterol raise cholesterol levels, and that these both cause heart and other disease—while still the party line of the medical establishment is under serious fire from many researchers out there.

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Instead of the bacon we use slices of ham or turkey depending on which brand has less sodium in it.

For every meal we use the following rule of thumb

Protein, fruit or veggies, carbs, dairy

  • Protein: eggs with chunks of ham, turkey, or cheese in it
  • Fruit or veggies: you could make a large green fruit smoothie for the family to share (they taste better than they look)
  • Carbs: a slice of toast or bread
  • Dairy: cheese in the eggs, yogurt in the smoothie, or a small glass of milk

This meal wouldn't take that much longer for you to make and it would be a good solid healthy meal for the whole family.

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Remember also that there are no foods that cannot be eaten at breakfast. Culture alone - not health or nutrition - has dictated certain foods more accepted at breakfast. "Breaking the rules" or "eating outside expectations" may be appealing to your children and increase interest and acceptance while it broadens the possibility of nutritional options.

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According to this page even adults should not eat more than 4 yolks per week because of high amount of cholesterol.

Other breakfast alternatives could be granola, less sugary cereal or hot cereal (oatmeal and farina). You can add fruits and a little bit of sugar to oatmeal to make it tasty.

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Thanks for the link. That was useful. –  Ross Johnston May 16 '11 at 18:08
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For most people there is currently no limit on the number of eggs that you can eat in a week. However, because the recommendation has changed over the years, it's often a common source of confusion. Source: British Heart Foundation bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/high-cholesterol.aspx –  Ed Guiness May 16 '11 at 20:10

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