The IFT session, “Protein for Kids: The Importance of Reaching Parents, Delivering Taste and Starting Each Day with a Nutritious Breakfast,” shared the results of the clinical trial on protein rich breakfasts and also outlined the qualities that both children and parents look for in a breakfast food.
“Breakfast consumption has gradually declined over the past 50 years – and this has mirrored the rise in obesity,” said Heather Leidy, Ph.D. – University of Missouri. “In our clinical trial we worked with teen girls who had a habit of skipping breakfast. By having them eat a normal protein breakfast and then a protein rich breakfast after a wash-out period, we were able to observe the positive results that protein was making in their ability to concentrate and their diet throughout the rest of the day.”
The “normal protein” breakfasts consisted of ready-to-eat cereals and contained 13 grams of protein. The protein-rich meals consisted of protein-enhanced waffles or breakfast burritos and contained 35 grams of protein. Both the normal protein and protein-rich breakfasts contained 350 calories. While both breakfast meals led to increased feelings of fullness throughout the morning compared to those who skipped breakfast, the protein rich breakfasts also led to an even greater feeling of satiety and less snacking throughout the day.
“This shows that while eating breakfast is beneficial, the calories are not the most important factor – a breakfast containing higher amounts of quality protein takes the health benefits of breakfast a step further,” said Leidy. “Parents and children must be sure to select breakfasts that are higher in protein in order to help regulate food intake for the rest of the day.”
“When selecting a higher protein breakfast, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated,” said Colleen Conley, lead sensory scientist and associate science fellow, Solae. “During a recent children’s taste test, Solae found that both parents and children focused on flavor and taste as important qualities affecting whether they would buy something again. Sugar content, price and protein content also were very high on the list of parent priorities.”
During the testing, children between the ages of 8 and 14 sampled a selection of three soy protein bars prepared by Solae. Children conducted blind taste tests on the bars at home and were able to score them on a range from “super good” to “super bad” and then record how much of the bars they were able to finish. The same bar scored high with both parents and children.
“Children will give detailed feedback if asked in the right way. If you ask why they like something and why they don’t like it you’ll get a better idea of what appeals to them,” said Conley. “Parents can read labels and select a few options at the store and conduct taste tests at home to get the children more invested in their breakfast choices and can begin helping them be mindful about their food choices.”