Breakfast helps children start the day off right

Research shows that children and adolescents who eat a nutritious breakfast do better academically and have fewer behavioral problems in school.

Your mother wasn’t kidding; breakfast is the most important meal of the day! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, after eight to twelve hours of not eating a meal or snack, breakfast helps break the fast by refueling the body’s blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar. Glucose is an important nutrient to the brain and provides nourishment to muscles needed for physical activity.

The Food Research and Action Center’s Breakfast for Learning Summary, shows that numerous research studies provide evidence that children and adolescents who eat breakfast do better academically and have fewer behavior problems in school. The Breakfast for Learning Summary also links poor nutrition to a higher incidence of school absences and lower test scores.

Busy families may forget about eating or choose less healthy foods for breakfast. Schools can help serve as a resource through student breakfast programs that make good nutrition a priority.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated to be nutritious. Here are some quick-to-fix breakfast ideas for families on the go:

  • A whole wheat bagel with a slice of low-fat cheese and apple juice
  • A banana, piece of string cheese and mini-bran muffin
  • A tortilla wrap with slices of low-fat ham and cheese and a box of raisins
  • A carton or tube of yogurt, low-fat granola and grape juice
  • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, milk and fruit cup

For additional breakfast ideas or to learn more about healthy eating check out the resources offered at USDA MyPlate.

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