It’s not new news that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast is your fuel for the day, enhances your energy, and provides your mind and body with the nutrients needed after a night of sleep. For children, there’s an added need for breakfast.
More and more, research points to the fact that students who start their day with a healthy breakfast have more energy, perform better academically, and make healthier eating choices throughout the day.
Wellness is an essential part of our Healthy Body pillar, and breakfast and wellness go hand in hand. It’s a simple fact — eating a healthy breakfast helps students do better in school. Here’s how:
- Students who eat breakfast show improved attendance, behavior, and academic performance, as well as decreased tardiness.
- Students who skip breakfast show increased errors and have slower memory recall.
- Children who eat breakfast at school—closer to class and test-taking time—perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast.
- Students who eat breakfast the morning of a standardized test have significantly higher scores in spelling, reading, and math compared to those students who do not eat breakfast.
- Student academic achievement increases, especially for math, when schools offer the School Breakfast Program.
- Children and adolescents who skip breakfast tend to have poorer nutrient intakes than those who eat breakfast. Eating breakfast regularly has been linked with greater intake of fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals, and lower intake of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- School breakfast has been linked with fewer visits to the school nurse, particularly in the morning.
- Children and adolescents experiencing hunger have lower math scores and lower grades.
- Children who participate in school breakfast are more likely to consume fruit and milk at breakfast.
- Children and adolescents who eat breakfast have more favorable weight-related outcomes (e.g., lower BMI, lower waist circumference, lesser likelihood of being chronically obese, decreased risk of obesity) in the short term and long term than those who skip breakfast.
- Children who eat breakfast show improved cognitive function, attention, and memory.
Eating a healthy breakfast helps students stay focused, energized, and healthy. Whether participating in the school’s breakfast program, or serving up a healthy, well-balanced meal before school at home, the benefits of a healthy breakfast are undeniable. Read our tips to encourage children to enjoy healthy eating.
*All statistics have been adapted from the Food and Research Action Center.