Written by Whitney Jerman under the direction and review of Ann Schwader.
Importance of Breakfast
Numerous studies suggest children and adolescents skip breakfast more than any other meal of the day. For some, skipping breakfast means going 15-17 hours without food. It is estimated that only 38% of teens eat breakfast every day.
Research supports a positive link between eating breakfast and cognitive and academic performance. More specifically, there’s evidence* that eating breakfast in addition to being physically active may help children do better in school by improving memory, attention, test grades, school attendance, psychosocial function and mood.
Make Dairy a Part of Your Breakfast!
Simply put, dairy foods offer convenience which can help make breakfast easier in our typical morning rush. In addition, with so many types of milk, cheese and yogurt available, it’s easy to find healthy breakfast combinations for every family member to enjoy.
A daily breakfast that includes dairy leads to not only better overall nutrition, but better school performance as well. As a registered dietitian, I have some tips to help make dairy and breakfast a part of every family’s daily routine which will help set your kids up for success in the classroom this school year:
- Keep convenient breakfast foods on hand, like ready-to-eat whole grain cereals, yogurt tubes/pouches, white and flavored milks, nuts, and fruit.
- Whip up a yogurt smoothie or build a yogurt parfait. Try our Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Yogurt Parfait.
- Eat pizza for breakfast! It’s sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces. Try our Egg and Mozzarella Breakfast Pizza.
- Build a breakfast burrito bar so kids can create the breakfast they love. Prepare toppings the night before and in the morning, scramble the eggs and warm the tortillas.
- Bake a batch of breakfast muffins over the weekend. Freeze, then defrost, heat and enjoy on the go throughout the busy week.
- If you’re pressed for time, take advantage of School Breakfast; it’s a cost-effective, nutritious and convenient option for kids.
*Source: American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council. The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through a Healthy School Environment. March 2013.