Top 3 Reasons to Fuel Greatness with School Breakfast

From the time the alarm sounds to the time you wrangle your kids into their clothes (and maybe, just maybe, you had the chance to make sure your own clothes actually matched); there’s rarely the time to cook them a healthy breakfast as well – especially if your kids don’t feel like eating just after they wake up.

That’s where school breakfast comes in. A balanced meal full of nutrient-rich dairy, whole grains and fresh fruit served a little later in the morning can have a major impact. Here’s how.

Healthier bodies.

  • A healthy breakfast accounts for one quarter of the nutrients your kids need. 
  • Children who eat breakfast have better weight-related outcomes (like lower BMI and less likelihood of being chronically obese) in the short and long term.1-7

Sharper minds.

  • Children who eat breakfast show better cognitive function, attention and memory.8
  • Children who eat breakfast at school (closer to test-taking time) performed better on standardized tests than children who ate breakfast at home.9

Happier hearts.

  • Children who participate more in school breakfast show greater improvements in depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.10
  • Breakfast in the classroom is associated with lower tardy rates and fewer disciplinary office referrals.11

Ask your school about breakfast; if they don’t serve it, refer them to our breakfast grant through Dairy Dollars for Schools. We may be able to offer funds and tips to get their breakfast program started.

1. Alexander KE, et al. (2009). Association of breakfast skipping with visceral fat and insulin indices in overweight Latino youth. Obesity. 17(8), 1528-1533.
2. Barton BA, et al. (2005). The relationship of breakfast and cereal consumption to nutrient intake and body mass index: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. J Am Dietetic Assoc. 105(9), 1383-1389.
3. Deshmukh-Taskar, et al. (2010). 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. J Am Dietetic Assoc. 110(6), 869-878. 
4. Fiore H, et al. (2006). Potentially protective factors associated with healthful body mass index in adolescents with obese and nonobese parents: a secondary data analysis of the third national health and nutrition examination survey, 1988-1994. J Am Dietetic Assoc. 106(1), 55-64.
5. Merten MJ, et al. (2009). Breakfast consumption in adolescence and young adulthood: parental presence, community context, and obesity. J Am Dietetic Assoc. 109(8), 1384-1391.
6. Niemeier HM, et al (2006). Fast food consumption and breakfast skipping: predictors of weight gain from adolescence to adulthood in a nationally representative sample. J Adolescent Health. 39(6), 842-849. 
7. Timlin, MT, et al. (2008). Breakfast eating and weight change in a 5-year prospective analysis of adolescents: Project EAT (Eating Among Teens). Pediatrics. 121(3):638-645.
8. Wesnes KA, et al. Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite. 2003;41(3):329-31.
9. Vaisman N, et al. Effects of Breakfast Timing on the Cognitive Functions of Elementary School Students. Arch Ped Adol Med.1996 150:1089-1092.
10.  Murphy JM, et al. The Relationship of School Breakfast to Psychosocial and Academic Functioning: Cross-sectional and longitudinal observations in an inner-city sample. Arch Ped Adol Med. 1998; 152:899-907. 
11.  Murphy JM, et al. Academics & Breakfast Connection Pilot: Final Report on New York’s Classroom Breakfast Project. Nutrition Consortium of New York State. Albany, New York. July 2005.

By Amanda Ford, MS, RDN, LD

Amanda is a registered dietitian nutritionist who loves teaching others about the relationship between nutrition and health. Amanda has developed and lead numerous classes and seminars on nutrition and disease prevention. When she is not working, Amanda loves to spend time with her young daughter, her husband and her bulldog. Learn more about Amanda. 

Get Content Like This in Your Inbox.