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Breakfast Makes Better Students

Here are some reasons breakfast is so important for students.

Nashville, Ark. – Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast really does make better students. With school starting next week, parents will be thinking about planning and serving their children a healthy breakfast.

            According to a study by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School found that children who eat breakfast showed significant gains in math scores, decreased rates of tardiness and fewer discipline problems. This is good news for parents, children and teachers. Children, who come to school, not hungry, are alert and ready to learn.

            Breakfast also has a positive effect on a child’s body mass index – an indicator of obesity. In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast tend to have lower BMI than children who skip breakfast. The study also found that children who skipped breakfast showed an increase in BMI as they grew older, indicating there are long term, negative effects from making a habit of skipping breakfast.

            Parents may think it is okay for my child to skip breakfast; they can catch up on nutrients later in the day. Instead, people (including children) who skip breakfast usually reach for low-nutrient, high-fat foods. They do not get needed nutrients that are missed; add to diet-related health issues.

            So, if breakfast is so important, why do people often skip it? One main cause is lack of time. It is hard to get into a school routine where you get up early and allow enough time to include a healthy breakfast. However, breakfast does not have to take a lot of time to prepare and many can be eaten on the run.

            Breakfast on the run can include something as simple as peanut butter on toast made from whole grain bread. Whole grain break enhances the taste of the peanut butter. Add a glass of milk or 100% juice and you have a quick, healthy breakfast. Other ideas for quick breakfasts include:

  • Bake up a make-ahead omelet by mixing eggs, cheese, veggies or other add-ins and pour into a muffin pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees until a knife inserted comes out clean – around 15-20 minutes. When done, the omelet can be frozen and reheated.
  • If you don’t care for the idea of frozen omelets, make them fresh by preparing the ingredients the night before and putting in the refrigerator. Omelets are quick-to-fix, taking less than 5 minutes to cook. The time is in the preparation of the veggies, meat, etc.
  • Yogurt makes a great breakfast. To save money, buy yogurt in the larger containers and spoon a serving into a small cup. Add frozen berries, nuts or granola for a yogurt parfait.
  • Yogurt can also be the main ingredient in a breakfast smoothie. Just combine plain or vanilla yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit in a blender. Blend until fruit is chopped and mixture is combined. If the mixture is too thick add a little milk or apple juice.
  • Many cereals make good breakfast choices that are fast to prepare. Make sure your cereal choices are whole grain products without a lot of added sugar. Some cereals have enough sugar in them to be considered as “candy cereals”.
  • Frozen, whole grain pancakes and waffles are quick-to-prepare. Make a batch from scratch on the weekend and freeze them in a zipper type freezer bag. Making them from scratch will save money. Take out a portion size and heat up in the microwave. Frozen waffles can be heated in the toaster.

            Finally, take time to eat with your children. Parents have the opportunity to model good eating habits. These are habits that can stay with them for a lifetime.

            For more information on eating a healthy breakfast or nutrition information, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great smoothie that takes just a couple of minutes to prepare. You can use any fruit of your choice. Experiment with new flavors.  Smoothies are a good source of protein. Protein helps you to feel full longer. The fruit adds vitamins, especially Vitamin C.

Favorite Berry Smoothie

1 ripe medium banana (ones with small brown specks on the skin will be the sweetest)

¾ cup fresh or frozen berries or fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mangos, etc.)

¼ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt

¾ cup skim milk

Pinch of cinnamon

½ cup ice

            Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Enjoy!

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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