Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eating a good breakfast boosts chances for school success

William Nichols - Writer
Katherine French – Mercer County Extension Educator

Your mother was right -- breakfast is the most important meal of the day, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Eating breakfast improves concentration, memory and problem-solving ability, said Katherine French, registered dietitian and extension educator in Mercer County. "Eating breakfast improves the brain's ability to function and gives you the energy to get you going and keep you going throughout the day."
This is especially important for school-age children because those who eat breakfast are more alert, less irritable, participate more fully in learning activities and have better behavior, noted French. "These kids have longer attention spans, get better test scores and are tardy and absent less often," she said. "Breakfast-eaters even make fewer visits to the school nurse."

Since breakfast-skippers consume more calories and fat later in the day than breakfast-eaters, researchers suggest that eating a nutritious breakfast helps to control body weight.

Despite the advantages of eating breakfast, some children (and adults) choose not to. They believe they don't have time, aren't hungry or just don't like breakfast foods. "But when it comes to kids not eating breakfast, the main reason they may not eat is that there may not be a parent or caregiver around at breakfast time," French said. "They need encouragement to eat and to help them to put together a quick, easy breakfast."

To encourage breakfast-time consumption, French suggested having quickly accessible breakfast items, such as ready-to-eat cereals, instant oatmeal, fresh fruits or juices, mini-bagels, muffins, toast, yogurt, string cheese and milk. "Set the breakfast table the night before," French urged. "For children, just seeing the bowl, spoon and box of cereal on the table is a good cue that they will be eating breakfast."

Read the entire article


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