Nutrition Corner: The Importance of Breakfast for School-Aged Children

Studies show that morning nutrition supports improved concentration, problem solving, and muscle coordination, yet up to 34% of children and adolescents regularly miss breakfast. Make the first meal of the day a priority and reap a bounty of benefits.

Breakfast Benefits

More Energy

As the word implies, “breakfast” breaks the fasting period that the body experiences during sleep. It helps to jumpstart the body and brain by providing essential glucose. Ensure that your child's energy bank stays full until lunch by creating a protein and carbohydrate combo, such as cheese with grapes or a whole-grain waffle with nut butter (or sunbutter if you’re accommodating a peanut or tree nut allergy).

Improved Cognitive Function

Breakfast consumption can help children focus and learn more during school. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006 revealed that breakfast consumption may improve brain function—especially memory and recall—leading to better grades and test scores. (1)

Healthy Weight

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who frequently skip the first meal of the day. Why? People who consume breakfast tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day, positively impacting their weight and overall wellness. Even consuming something as simple as ready-to-eat cereal has been linked to maintaining a healthy body weight. (2)

It's Delicious!

This may be the most persuasive reason to eat breakfast before a long day at school. Encourage your children to eat foods they enjoy at breakfast. Just because it’s breakfast, it does not mean they have to eat the same thing everyday—introduce variety through prep-ahead items such as overnight oats or whole grain banana muffins.

1. Gail C. Rampersaud MS, RD, Mark A. Pereira PhD, Beverly L. Girard, MBA, MS, RD, Judi Adams, MS, RD, Jordan D. Metzl, MD. "Breakfast Habits, Nutritional Status, Body Weight, and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 105, no. 5 (May 2015): 743-60. Accessed January 2018.

2. Deshmukh-Taskar, Priya R., MS, Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH, Carol E. O'Neil, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN, Debrea R. Keast, PhD, John D. Radcliffe, PhD, RD, and Susan Cho, PHD. " The Relationship of Breakfast Skipping and Type of Breakfast Consumption with Nutrient Intake and Weight Status in Children and Adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006" Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110, no. 6 (June 2010): 869-78. Accessed January 2018.

Recent News

See All News