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Breakfast Makes Better Students

How to provide your students with a healthy breakfast before they head out the door to school.

Nashville, Ark. – Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast really does make better students. With school starting soon, 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, 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 and can 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.

Try these easy breakfast ideas!

Breakfast on the run can include something as simple as peanut butter on toast made from whole grain bread. Whole grain bread 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 spent in the preparation of the veggies, meat, etc.

  • Yogurt makes a great breakfast. Greek yogurt is high in protein, which will keep you feeling full longer. 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 - Baked Egg Cups

Anna Kate McKinnon, Howard County 4-H Teen Leader, used this recipe in her state winning presentation on incorporating eggs in your diet. These mini quiches can be made ahead of time, frozen and popped in the microwave for a quick, healthy breakfast.

  • 5 eggs

  • ¼ cup skim milk

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¾ cup sausage

  • ½ cup fresh spinach, chopped

  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook sausage over medium heat until done.
  5. In muffin tin add a tablespoon of cooked sausage, a tablespoon of chopped spinach, and a tablespoon of diced bell pepper.
  6. Pour egg mixture over top, filling ¾ of the way.
  • Bake for 17 minutes. Yield 6 servings.
  1. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Serving Size-1 egg cup, Calories-95, Sodium-332mg, Fat-7g, Carbohydrates-0.6g, Protein- 6.7g, Cholesterol-162 mg


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


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.