Interview with Mrs. Steiner

Today our interview comes from one of the wellness teachers at Greenwich High School, Mrs. Steiner (with some points from Mrs. Gillick as well). We chose to talk to them about their personal breakfast habits, and what they think should be done at the high school. Keep reading to see the questions and responses.

What is your typical breakfast?

I have a yogurt, made with coconut milk, a KIND bar, and a banana. I have that mostly every day. On the weekends, sometimes I’ll also have a piece of quiche and spinach.

Do you think high school students should have breakfast before school every morning?

Yes, as hard as it is. Breakfast is called breakfast for a reason, you break the fast. We haven’t eaten in maybe 12 or 15 hours, depending on the last time you had dinner and when you eat. And then you wake up, and your brain in particular needs that fat to jump start that cognition and the mental ability to think in school. At the high school, there should maybe be time when everyone goes to get breakfast.

When your kids went through high school, did they eat breakfast each day? If yes, was it by choice, or did you tell them to?

My daughter definitely did, she was very adamant about it. My son did too; his sister was a role model for him. It was their choice as well.

What do think of the breakfast options offered at the high school? Do you think it’s enough for students who want to eat when they get to school?

I like them. I think their breakfast is probably the best meal, because you can get an omelet with all sorts of vegetables. And they’re cheap. And they also have the fruit, and the yogurt, and the fruit cup, so I think the breakfast is really good. Also, I think they shouldn’t shut down breakfast during the day. It should stay open throughout the school day.

Do you teach your wellness students about breakfast? If not, have you ever thought of teaching it?

In 10th grade in particular, we have a nutrition unit. So we talk about the six nutrients generally, and then how to break them down into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack, and the kids actually have to fill out a food log for a week. We’ve never done a unit just on breakfast. But we’re going to working on a curriculum this summer, so I think we should probably make that change in the 10th grade class, and focus on the importance of breakfast, even if it’s just for a single class.

Why do you think high schoolers will get breakfast?

Well, they’re hungry, but they don’t necessarily pick the right choices. It’s very easy to go in get those hash browns or get the muffin or the big pancake or the quick carbs, instead of the protein and the carbohydrates, and making sure it’s healthier with what kind of carbohydrates you’re eating. You know, vegetables and fruit, versus donuts. So I think obviously hunger drives and the taste. Sugar is very addicting, and is in everything. So when you look at why do kids have breakfast, they’re hungry, it’s quick, and you get the sugar high.

Do you think the later start times will have any impact on kids eating breakfast?

Yes. I mean, think about when we have an hour delay. You can sleep that extra hour. You feel more awake getting up, and then having breakfast an hour later helps. When you guys get up, I think you’re just not hungry. Some people are not morning people and can’t eat early.

What do you think GHS should do to help promote breakfast and its benefits?

I think they could not have the vending machines open in the morning, to make kids go to the Cardinal Café instead. That’s probably a really good start, and it’s easy to just turn them off so kids are going to use their dollar to go buy something like a banana. And I think now that the cafeteria has the TV up, maybe they could do something just with PR’ing on the TV. Maybe they could have flyers with the breakfast of the day. You could also use the TV in the student center.

In your opinion, what is the best breakfast for a high school student?

A combination of carbs and protein. So whether it is eggs and toast, or yogurt and granola, or, nuts with almonds and a banana. I think a healthy combination of a carbohydrate and a protein is the best.

What do you have to say to non-breakfast eaters in high school?

I think what I would say is just give it a try. You’ll feel so much healthier. And make breakfast foods fun, it doesn’t have to be your typical US breakfast foods. It can be anything you want. Just make it fun and eat something. Even if you’re just grabbing something on the way out, like a hardboiled egg, or a banana rolled up in a tortilla with peanut butter on it. That’s fun. So that’s my advice: make breakfast fun.

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