Food for Thought

Benefits of breakfast for students

By Tinita Tennant -

You hear time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, however 30 percent of children ages 8-13 don’t start their day with the morning meal, as reported by the University of Florida. A better understanding of the significant benefits associated with eating a balanced breakfast, could possibly help increase the encouragement and assurance of students having breakfast daily.

Information released by the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA suggests that eating breakfast increases the attention span of children, improves problem solving skills and standardized test scores, and reduces tardiness and the number of absences. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to be overweight, they get more important nutrients, vitamins and minerals and, children who eat breakfast are more likely to establish healthy habits for later in life.

It is not only important that children start their day with breakfast but it’s even more important that they consume a healthy, well balanced breakfast.

“Fuel Up to Play 60” is an initiative that encourages youth to eat healthy and move more, as studies suggest that well-nourished, physically active kids can be better students. The initiative promotes and encourages school served breakfast as a perfect option for students who do not have time to eat at home or the adequate resources to eat at home, as well as a great option for all kids.

The website outlines that:

  • School breakfast supplies 1/4 of the Recommended Daily Allowances a child needs.
  • It’s a healthy, nutritious meal that provides a variety of foods.
  • It’s easy and convenient — for the kids, for teachers and for parents. Parents can feel comfortable that their children are eating a nutritious meal and getting the best possible start to a day of learning.
  • It helps maximize learning time by making sure that kids are a ready to learn.

To help ensure that every child has the equal opportunity to consume a healthy breakfast daily and to reap its benefits “Fuel Up to 60” offers the information and tools for schools to “expand breakfast”.

There are three approaches to “expanding breakfast”:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom — Students eat breakfast in their classroom, either at the beginning of or early in the school day. A breakfast of easy-to-eat items, such as breakfast sandwiches and burritos, low-fat muffins, French toast sticks or cereals, plus milk and fruit or juice, are brought from the cafeteria to the classroom, often by students.
  • Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast — Breakfast is packaged so students can quickly grab it from the cafeteria or carts elsewhere in the school. They eat it in the cafeteria, the classroom or on the school grounds.
  • Breakfast After 1st Period — Usually served in middle and high schools, students are allowed to get breakfast after their first period.

Could expanding breakfast work? Will more schools begin to incorporate one of these options?

It’s an option worth considering, after all, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.

For more information visit
Benefits of breakfast for students

By Tinita Tennant

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