Giving kids a healthy start to the day fuels them for success at school and sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits.
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is associated with better health, diet quality, behavior and academic benefits in children. On the other hand, skipping breakfast is associated with decreased cognitive performance; lower diet quality; and low intakes of fiber, folate, iron and calcium. Children have unique nutritional needs, and breakfast is an important opportunity for them to eat wholesome, nutritious foods, including milk, cheese, yogurt, fruits, whole grains, nuts and eggs.
Eating breakfast at home or school fuels students for learning, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or fancy. A glass of milk with a cereal bar and a piece of fruit is a simple but healthy way to start the day. Including foods from three or more food groups will help keep kids feeling full through lunch.
School cafeterias are a healthy, convenient breakfast option for families. The School Breakfast Program is an important federal food access program that is critical to child health, school attendance and academic performance, and it’s an opportunity for children to receive underconsumed foods such as dairy, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Here are a few ideas for encouraging kids to begin their days with a balanced breakfast: