Why Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Looks like mom was right: Breakfast does matter.

According to the “Wellness Impact Report*,” kids who eat breakfast tend to have better memory and attention spans, score higher on tests and have less behavioral problems. The flipside of this report is not so rosy: 62 percent of teens say they don’t eat breakfast every day. So how can we, as busy parents, close the gap to ensure our kids are fueled up for success?

Put the Fast in Breakfast

Midwest Dairy Council registered dietitian Stephanie Cundith understands that mornings are often the most hectic time of day as parents and kids are scrambling to get ready and out the door. To make life easier, Cundith recommends having nutrient-rich grab-and-go breakfast items available at all times.

These items include:

  • Individual servings of yogurt
  • Sliced fruit
  • Pre-packed containers of whole-grain cereal (aim to keep sugar less than 10g)
  • Mini cartons of milk
  • Pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

“Keep breakfast options simple, easy and healthful by encouraging kids to choose items from three different food groups,” Cundith says. She also recommends saving time by doing prep work the night before. Try making this Spiced Oatmeal recipe that cooks overnight in a slow cooker or try these delicious Cheddar and Mushroom Squares, which you can prepare the night before and bake in the morning while everyone is showering and getting dressed. 

Make Breakfast Easy for Picky Eaters

Chef Vahé Mekhitarian knows a thing or two about picky eaters. As a personal chef and owner of Menu for You, Mekhitarian works with families to create customized meals that are healthy, nutritious and enjoyable for the whole family.

When working with picky eaters, Mekhitarian begins by identifying the kinds of foods the kids like to eat. He then comes up with complementary ingredients and dishes that are rich in nutrients and incorporate multiple food groups. For example, the cookie-lover will adore this healthy breakfast cookie recipe, which includes old-fashion oats, egg whites and banana.

Chef Mekhitarian also advises that parents think outside the box and expand the types of foods they serve for breakfast. “Turn the day upside down and give your kids dinner for breakfast,” Mekhitarian says. “You’ll be amazed how much they’ll enjoy the novelty of eating turkey meatballs or cheeseburgers for breakfast, and you’ll love that they are starting their day with a nutritious and filling meal.”

Bon Appetit!


*The “Wellness Impact Report” was commissioned by the American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, GENYOUth Foundation and the National Dairy Council.