The Importance of Eating Breakfast Before School

To prevent problems with learning and concentration, it's very important for children not to go to school on an empty stomach. What's more, breakfast is fundamental when it comes to getting the nutrients necessary for taking on everyday tasks.
The Importance of Eating Breakfast Before School
Nelton Ramos

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Nelton Ramos.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Some children wake up at the last minute and end up having to rush out the door to get to school on time. As a result, they don’t develop the habit of having breakfast before school, and even claim to feel sick if they eat too early.

However, it’s important for children not to go to class on an empty stomach.  

The importance of eating breakfast before school

You’ve no doubt read and heard somewhere that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s not only true for adults, but for children as well – and even more so!

Eating well in the morning allows us to literally “break” the “fast” we’ve been maintaining since the day before. It also gives us the fuel we need to carry out our day-to-day activities – especially during the first hours of the day.

While it’s true that no one should skip breakfast, when it comes to school-aged children, breakfast is even more important. This is because going to school on an empty stomach can affect their health and their cognitive performance.

Eating breakfast before school allows children to concentrate more on their tasks, be more open to learning, and even behave better. With a full stomach, they’ll be in a better mood at school and have more energy to play, run, exercise and do everything else the day demands.

On the other hand, not eating breakfast has negative consequences. These include irritation, sensitivity, tiredness, lack of attention and apathy.

It also makes it hard for children to retain information and to follow simple orders. All of this can occur as a result of not instilling in your kids the habit of eating breakfast before heading off to school.

Unfortunately, there are countries where limited finances keep a lot of children from getting a good breakfast. But in many cases, going to school on an empty stomach has more to do with a family’s customs and habits.

The fact of the matter is, many parents don’t eat breakfast at home, or our breakfasts are limited to a cup of coffee while we get ready in the morning. If that’s the case, then it’s easy to understand why our children don’t want to sit down and eat before going out.

The Importance of Eating Breakfast Before School

How to get your child to eat breakfast before school

First and foremost, parents need to set a good example and take time to prepare and enjoy a complete breakfast. By waking up just 20 minutes earlier – rather than hitting snooze over and over again – you’ll have the time you need to prepare something healthy and delicious.

At first, this change will likely produce a bit of rebellion from your children – no matter how old they are. However, little by little, you’ll be able to win them over and create new habits.

You don’t need to overload your kids with food all at once – and their bodies won’t tolerate it. But, if you add a little something every week, after one or two months, your entire family will be enjoying a complete, nutritious breakfast.

“Eating breakfast before school allows children to concentrate more on their tasks, be more open to learning, and even behave better.”

So, what requirements should the first meal of the day meet? A healthy breakfast must contain the nutrients your child needs to face the day. In other words, it needs to include grains, fruits and dairy.

We can put together a variety of nutritious breakfast menus to keep our kids from getting bored. What’s more, it’s better to keep serving sizes small, but allow your kids to have more if they want.

A typical complete breakfast consists of a glass of milk – with tea or chocolate – and a freshly-squeezed fruit juice (not from a bottle or a box). It may also include two slices of bread with jam, butter or cheese. As you can see, it’s not complicated at all, and you can get it ready in no time at all.

The Importance of Eating Breakfast Before School

Spending time together

Something we can’t forget to mention is that eating breakfast before school gives you a chance to spend quality time with your family. Just 15 minutes or so is enough and provides you and your children to start the day off together.

Our modern lives are full of activities and it’s hard for families to find time to be with one another. So, eating breakfast before school even helps strengthen family bonds.

Believe it or not, when you give your kids breakfast, you’re not just giving them nutrition. You’re instilling positive habits and values. Having conversations and spending time together as a family during this time in your children’s lives is fundamental.

All in all, it’s extremely important that your children eat breakfast before school. A good breakfast every morning provides biological, cognitive, emotional and behavioral benefits.

If your family doesn’t have the habit of eating breakfast in the morning, then you can start out with weekends. Using this time when everyone’s more relaxed will make it easier to incorporate the same changes during the week. You’ll see the positive effects in no time!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.