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Healthy Breakfast for Kids

Giving kids a healthy start to the day fuels them for success at school and sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits.

Eating breakfast at home or school fuels students for learning.

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:

  • Plan ahead. Ensure the day gets off to a healthy start by planning time for breakfast at home or taking advantage of the School Breakfast Program where available. 
  • Keep breakfast simple. Maintain a supply of items that can easily be put together in the morning: cereal, milk, toast or bagel, cheese, fruit and yogurt. 
  • Set the example. Be a positive role model; creating and eating healthy meals is an important way to encourage healthy eating in children. Eat breakfast together when possible.
References
Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, Dye L. The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(3):590S-612S. 
Giovanni M, Agostoni C, Shamir R. Symposium overview: do we all eat breakfast and is it important? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010;50(2):97-99. 

Why Kids Should Eat Breakfast

Maureen Bligh, RDN, addresses why eating breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

Watch here