It can tough to find enough time on weekdays for a nutritious breakfast. Between staying up late studying for exams and chatting online with friends, some teens can hardly wake up on time for class. Sitting down to a healthy breakfast is just one more thing to do in the morning and it can be easy to brush off. A new study shows why your teens shouldn’t skip it—especially if they want a better shot at doing well on that exam.
Researchers at the University of Iowa found that students who ate free school breakfasts performed better academically. These breakfasts tend to be relatively more nutritious than the average breakfast a teen eats at home. They also found that students who attend schools that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program have higher achievement scores in math, science, and reading than those in schools who don’t participate, according the recent press release from the university. The impact was actually cumulative. The longer the school participated in the program, the higher their achievement scores were.
Researcher David Frisvold explains further:
These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the subsidized breakfast program throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement.
This research reinforces the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast—it’s good for both your teen’s body and his or her brain! Encourage your teens to take advantage of the brain benefits of a good breakfast. Eating one could just earn them that A in math they’ve been striving for. If your teen’s school offers the school breakfast program, be sure to sign up. A healthy breakfast this morning could mean better grades later on.
This month, our #ChoicesChallenge encourages teens to take one of their favorite meals and make it healthier. If they’ve been inspired to eat a more nutritious breakfast, have them show us their improved plate on social media using the hashtags #DIYMyPlate and #ChoicesChallenge. We’re giving away blenders for our favorites. For more details, visit the April #ChoicesChallenge page.
To learn more about healthy eating habits for teens, check out our story “Are You Being Snacked to Death?” from the December issue of Choices. Choices is a teen health and life skills magazine for middle and high schoolers.