Nutrition Primer - Starting the Day With a Healthy Breakfast

Nutrition Primer Breakfast

Breakfast

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is associated with better health, diet quality, behavior, and academic benefits. Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased cognitive performance; lower diet quality; and low intakes of fiber, folate, iron, and calcium. Aim to include a variety of foods from at least 3 food groups for a healthy breakfast.

How do I encourage students to eat breakfast?

Whether it’s back-to-school time, National School Breakfast Week, or gearing up for testing, the time is always right to encourage a balanced breakfast. Teachers can support students by encouraging the consumption of breakfast and providing helpful suggestions to establish daily habits.

5 Ways to Encourage Students to Eat Breakfast (HealthyEating.org)

How can breakfast impact student behavior?

Attendance at school is essential for academic success. Yet, chronic absenteeism—or missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason, excused or unexcused—is negatively impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of California kids. Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, reduced absenteeism, and better grades.

Health and Academic Achievement (CDC.gov)

What is the School Breakfast Program and how does it work?

Most schools participate in the national School Breakfast Program, which provides nutritious breakfast for children at low or no cost. All meals served as part of the School Breakfast Program must meet nutrient and quality standards. Connect with your district or school foodservice team about what they offer and eligibility requirements.

What Is the National School Breakfast Program and How Does It Work? (eXtension.org)

How can I share the benefits of the School Breakfast Program with families?

Consider connecting families to school meals as an option for those students who otherwise go without breakfast due to busy schedules or inability to provide balanced meals. Families play a vital role in helping children have access to a healthy breakfast. For caregivers and families, click the link below to print a resource on the nutritional benefits of school breakfast and ways to support children.

MyPlate Guide to School Breakfast (FNS.USDA.gov)

How can the School Breakfast Program impact students’ food choices?

A large study showed that children who consumed school breakfast daily reported higher intakes of healthy foods—including dairy, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains—as well as higher intakes of dietary fiber and calcium, compared to those who did not eat school breakfast daily.3

School Breakfast (CACommunitySchools.org)

Benefits of School Breakfast (FRAC.org)

References

3. Au LE, Gurzo K, Gosliner W et al., Eating school meals daily is associated with healthier dietary intakes: The Healthy Communities Study. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018;118(8):1474–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2018.01.010