Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

We’ve all heard it a million times – “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But is that really true?  And if it is, why is it so important?

Eating Breakfast Has Many Benefits

While simply eating breakfast isn’t a magic solution to all of your health and nutrition problems, it has been shown to have many great benefits, from improving mental function to reducing your risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

First, research has shown that school children who eat breakfast have better attention and memory than those who skip breakfast. Even though college students are a few years older, eating in the morning before going to class could be the extra boost you need to pay attention and recall those important facts for the final exam.

Second, eating breakfast can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can help prevent problems later in life. Scientists aren’t 100% sure why skipping breakfast has this effect, but there are a few possible explanations. If you don’t eat early in the day you’re usually starving when lunchtime rolls around and more likely to overeat or choose less healthy or balanced options. Also, long periods without food can tell your body that it needs to conserve energy, leading to higher than normal weight gain. Plus, knowing you made a good choice by eating breakfast can set you up for a great day of healthy decisions!

Eating Breakfast Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

So, eating breakfast is a smart choice. But, it can be hard to find time for a healthy breakfast when you’re rushing out the door to class. Don’t worry! A balanced breakfast that will start your day off right can be quick, easy, and delicious. Here are some suggestions:

  • Slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana, glass of milk
  • Apple and string cheese
  • Hard-boiled egg, granola bar, grapes
  • Whole grain waffle with peanut butter,  orange
  • Packet of instant oatmeal with walnuts and banana added
  • Whole grain cereal with milk and sliced banana
  • Yogurt with frozen berries and almonds

What are your favorite breakfast options?


Freitas, I.F. Jr., PhD,  et. al. The Association between Skipping Breakfast and Biochemical Variables in Sedentary Obese Children and Adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics, Available online 7 June 2012

Wing, R.R. & Phelan, S. Long-term Weight Loss Maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. July 2005 82:1, 222S-225S.

Wesnes, K.A., Pincock, C. & Scholey, A. Breakfast is associated with enhanced cognitive function in schoolchildren: An internet based study. Appetite. 14 August 2012

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