Benefits of Eating Breakfast
What are the benefits of eating breakfast? The meal is often described as the most important meal of the day, and rightfully so — it not only provides important daily nutrients such as protein, fiber, calcium and carbohydrates, but it also helps improve school performance, allowing students to do better on tests, according to the Food and Nutrition Service. If you feel tired or have difficulty concentrating during the day, consider adding breakfast to your routine.
Eating breakfast can improve cognitive performance, test scores and achievement scores in students, especially in younger children. According to a study published in the journal “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,” students who increased their participation in school breakfast programs had significantly higher math scores than students who skipped or rarely ate breakfast. As an added benefit, the group of students who increased breakfast participation also had decreased rates of tardiness and absences.
Students who eat a low-glycemic, balanced breakfast may have better concentration and more positive reactions to difficult tasks than students who eat a carbohydrate-laden breakfast. According to research published in “Physiology and Behavior,” students given a low-glycemic breakfast were able to sustain attention longer than children given a high-glycemic breakfast. Children following the low-glycemic breakfast plan also had improved memory and fewer signs of frustration when working on school tasks. Try old-fashioned oatmeal with a handful of walnuts or some scrambled eggs with spinach, peppers and a sprinkle of cheese.
Eating breakfast regularly may also help students maintain a healthy weight. According to a study published in “Public Health Nutrition,” children who skipped breakfast in the morning were more likely to overeat and have a lower overall diet quality than children who ate breakfast every day. This led to increased body mass index, or BMI, measurements.
While eating any breakfast is better than skipping breakfast altogether, some choices are better than others. Carbohydrate-only breakfasts, such as bagels and toast, can give energy for one to two hours, while complete breakfasts that contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates can keep blood sugar levels steady for hours, according to MealsMatter.org. Try some toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or cereal with milk and glass of 100 percent fruit juice. If you have time, make an omelet with cheese, broccoli and some turkey bacon.
- BreakfastFirst.org: The Benefits of Breakfast: Health and Academics
- MealsMatter.org: Benefits of Breakfast for Children
- Public Health Nutrition: Breakfast Skipping is Associated with Differences in Meal Patterns, Macronutrient Intakes and Overweight Among Pre-school Children
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Breakfast Habits, Nutritional Status, Body Weight, and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents
- Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: The Relationship of School Breakfast to Psychosocial and Academic Functioning: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Observations in an Inner-City School Sample
- Physiology and Behavior: The Influence of the Glycemic Load of Breakfast on the Behavior of Children in School