If you tend to feel tired, restless or irritable in the morning, it's not surprising. After about 8 hours without eating, your body's glucose supplies are low, so your brain and nervous system are in need of an energy boost. Eating breakfast provides this energy and has other benefits as well, so take the time to fuel up before you head out for the day.
In a study published in the "Journal of School Health" in April 2008, students with higher quality diets performed better in school than those with lower quality diets. Eating breakfast makes it more likely you will get the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals each day without eating too much fat or saturated fat. People who eat a breakfast that is low in energy density, or calories per gram, also tend to have overall diets that are of higher quality than those of people who either don't eat breakfast or eat a breakfast that is high in energy density, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in November 2008. So skip the pastries and opt for something healthier, like a bowl of cereal with fruit and low-fat milk.
School Performance Benefits
Breakfast is a particularly important meal for students. Breakfast helps you concentrate better and be more productive. A study published in "Pediatrics" in August 2008 found that eating breakfast improved the cognitive function, mood and alertness of students. Another study, published in May 2005 in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association," found that students who ate breakfast had better test grades, school attendance and memory than those who didn't.
You are also likely to be healthier if you eat breakfast regularly. Adults between the ages of 20 and 39 who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high insulin levels, according to a study published in "Public Health Nutrition" in 2012. This means you have a lower risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In a study published in the "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health" in 2010, university students who were healthy performed better academically than those who were not healthy.
While any breakfast is better than no breakfast, aim to eat a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and low-fat protein. Try a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts along with a glass of milk; an orange and a whole-grain English muffin topped with an egg and a slice of low-fat cheese; a smoothie made with fruit, yogurt and flaxseed; or a piece of toast with peanut butter and apple slices and a glass of milk. If you aren't a fan of breakfast foods, try a turkey and cheese sandwich topped with lettuce and tomatoes or a tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese and veggies instead.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Proven Benefits of Breakfast
- MayoClinic.com: Healthy Breakfast: Quick, Flexible Options to Grab at Home
- North Dakota State University Extension: Breakfast is Important to Everyone
- Public Health Nutrition: The Relationship of Breakfast Skipping and Type of Breakfast Consumed With Overweight/Obesity, Abdominal Obesity, Other Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome in Young Adults. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): 1999–2006
- Journal of School Health: Diet Quality and Academic Performance
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Is the Health and Wellbeing of University Students Associated with their Academic Performance? Cross Sectional Findings from the United Kingdom
- Pediatrics: Influence of Having Breakfast on Cognitive Performance and Mood in 13- to 20-Year-Old High School Students: Results of a Crossover Trial
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Breakfast Habits, Nutritional Status, Body Weight, and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.