A healthy breakfast is crucial

CHRIS FORTUNE
Last updated 07:02 30/08/2012

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Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It is the opportunity to refuel the body after a prolonged rest and prepare the body and brain for the day.

In our house, breakfast is a good opportunity for our whole family to sit at the table together and share a meal before we all head off into our own busy worlds.

The ability to get the whole family sitting at the same time is a complex task that requires finesse, skill and a sprinkle of brute force.

Miss 5-year-old is busy creating sticker charts and giving out stickers to us if we are doing a good job. Master 10-year-old is scheming on how to get out of the dishes or putting the recycling downstairs by playing the invisible boy superhero game.

The headlines in our media state that 232,000 children in New Zealand live in poverty. Statements such as: "One of the worst aspects of the growth in child poverty and in the numbers of children not having enough to eat has been the complete failure of Government to respond sensibly and effectively" ensure that this discussion reaches us all. Blaming the Government is a good way to start the discussion.

The definition of child poverty can be debated against the standards of poverty of many other countries and we cannot compare ourselves to Sudan and Africa, where there are no choices.

In New Zealand we do have choices, and it is all Dad's fault. One of Dad's roles is to hunt and gather, to provide the necessities. When things are tight then compromises are made to ensure that the whanau is looked after. It is one of Dad's responsibilities to ensure his children receive life education and skills to enable them to grow and flourish. Providing breakfast should be at the top of Dad's to-do list, before drinks at the pub and cigarettes.

The fact that Dad may not be present in many homes where children are sent to school without breakfast says a lot about family structures in New Zealand.

"While the overall number of malnourished New Zealand children is relatively small, in schools with a high proportion of children from low socio economic backgrounds poor nutritional status may be the norm rather than the exception." This is one statement that stands out. Nutritional status has very little to do with money. Good food is not expensive, bad choices are.

WEETBIX SLICE - UNBAKED

200g sweetened condensed milk

3 Tbsp peanut butter

10 Weetbix, crushed, either hi bran or normal

100g butter

cup coconut

1 Tbsp cocoa

1 cup mixed dried fruit and nuts

Melt the butter and add the condensed milk and peanut butter, stir to combine.

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In a bowl mix the Weetbix, coconut, cocoa, dried fruit and nuts.

Pour over the butter mixture and stir to combine.

Press the mixture into a slice tin lined with baking paper.

Chill and store in the refrigerator. Cut into squares to serve.

- The Marlborough Express

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