Eating Breakfast May Help Improve Test Scores
Dig out the notebooks and sharpen the pencils: School is back in session. While doing homework and studying hard can never be undervalued, there may be another strategy for helping your kids reach the top of the class: providing a healthy breakfast.
In a study published in Public Health Nutrition, researchers from the UK questioned about 4,500 students in Wales ages 9 to 11 years about the foods they ate in one day and whether or not they ate breakfast. Researchers then linked children’s dietary information to their standardized test scores. Eating breakfast was associated with higher test scores, and the best academic performance came after eating healthy foods like fresh fruit. This could have to do with glycemic index, the rate at which sugar is released from the blood. Breakfast foods with a lower glycemic index have more fiber (think a sweet bowl of berries instead of a donut) and release energy more steadily throughout the morning, which could have a positive effect on cognitive functioning.
An empty stomach is no way to start the school day, and eating breakfast can bring more than just good grades. A 2014 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found eating a nutritious breakfast can play a role in maintaining a healthy BMI as well as help with meeting daily nutrient requirements and achieving overall health.
Anything is better than nothing on the breakfast table, but starting the day with nutritious food can be convenient for parents and fun for kids with these simple tricks:
BONUS: Help your kids eat healthy all day long by packing an A+ lunch box! Get our tips for packing a safe, nutritious and delicious midday meal.
- Do the work the night before and have a portable breakfast waiting in the morning. In a jar, combine ½ cup rolled oats with 1 cup almond milk and place in the refrigerator overnight. Add cinnamon, fresh fruit, chopped nuts or honey to taste, or try our recipe for Wake Up Oats.
- Pre-portion cut fruit into plastic baggies and keep in the freezer to make for speedy smoothie assembly. Try one banana, one cup of berries, and one cup of pineapple per pack and blend with one cup of liquid (like almond milk, yogurt or water) when you’re ready for breakfast.
- Prepare large batches of breakfast bars or whole wheat muffins on the weekend to have on hand all week long. Our Banana Bran Breakfast Muffins are great for busy weekday mornings.
- Keep on-the-go options on hand. Stock the fruit bowl full with bananas, apples, oranges, and other portable fruits, and have a supply of single-serve nuts and yogurts for those last-minute breakfast mornings.
- Make breakfast fun! Our Breakfast Banana Split sounds like dessert to kids but is actually a wholesome morning meal the whole family will enjoy.
Published September 1, 2016