We at Pisanick Partners love a month that celebrates both National Nutrition Month and School Breakfast Week. It gives us the opportunity to highlight and reflect on the importance of nutrition in promoting health and wellness. And how apropos that a meal - BREAKFAST - that is so important to overall health, shares monthly honors with National Nutrition Month.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
We’ve all heard it; ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. Fact is, this is not just a mantra, but there is plenty of science to support the statement. Several studies suggest that eating breakfast may help children do better in school by improving their memory, alertness, concentration, problem-solving ability, test scores, school attendance, and mood. Adults who skip breakfast should also take note, as eating breakfast may help boost your brain power, too.
Additionally, compared to breakfast-skippers, both kids and adults who eat breakfast have diets with increased amounts of key nutrients such as: fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc, and iron. Research also shows a link between skipping breakfast and risk for obesity. Adult skippers are at greater risk for obesity and weight gain. Kids and teens who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight.
National School Breakfast Program helps overcome breakfast obstacles
Yet despite all these benefits to breakfast (and honestly there are more!), about 1 in 5, or nearly 20% of American children do not eat breakfast. The trend of skipping breakfast increases with age - we see you teenagers!! Unfortunately for many American families, there are several obstacles to providing a healthy breakfast. Tight budgets for low-income families and hectic morning schedules can mean that many students arrive at school without breakfast to fuel their bodies and brains. Fortunately, the National School Breakfast Program plays a critical role in filling this void. Participation in the School Breakfast Program has been shown to improve academic performance, reduce behavioral problems, and improve children’s diets. While many schools offer breakfast to students, reports show that less children access school breakfast than school lunches. Implementing school breakfast programs that utilize grab-n-go breakfasts, vending machines, and breakfast in the classroom are best practices to increase breakfast participation.
Making breakfast accessible to students
Our work with school foodservice programs has given us the opportunity to support school breakfast programs. Whether we are working with schools to start a school breakfast program, implementing service models that make breakfast more accessible to students, or improving the offerings that schools provide at breakfast, and even making sure to eat breakfast ourselves, that familiar breakfast mantra resonates with us.