Fuel Your Day in the A.M.

Breakfast week encourages youth to start the day off right

March 6, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

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(dailyRx News) Today marks the start of a week dedicated toward breakfast, thought by many to be the most important meal of the day. And it is!

Schools across the country are on board, planning extra healthy meals, adorning hallways with flyers, and encouraging participation in daily themes.

Sponsors hope parents will “encourage your child to eat breakfast at school March 5-9 in celebration of School Breakfast Week,” noting the nutritious options provided will help kids do better both in school and life.

The School Nutrition Association is sponsoring the week, providing menus, contests, and marketing collateral on its website. 

"Encourage healthy morning meals each and every day."

This U.S. Initiative, entitled "School Breakfast-Go For Gold," started in January this year, determined to help children understand the importance of a healthy meal to start their day.  While its been around since 1989, each year the program focuses on becoming more fun, exciting, and healthy for kids, and this year is no exception.  

Within the nationwide toolkit, the U.S. government encourages schools to decorate the walls and halls, elicit participation through contests and events, as well as to invite parents and other special guests to attend.  While each school is at liberty to do it differently, some states have taken it a step further and provided additional stimulation for their education systems.  

Texas, for example, began their own "Breakfast Olympics."  

Todd Staples, Texas’ agricultural commissioner, sent his appreciation out to all schools participating alongside their promotion tool kit, expressing this as an “important step in engaging students to learn about the benefits of eating breakfast at school, improving performance in and out of the classroom, and encouraging participation in the School Breakfast Program.”

The week unofficially started last Friday in Texas with a modern day breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and potatoes (topped with a cup of fresh berries for health), and this week turns in the fried foods for morning meals loaded with fruits, veggies, and grains.

From parfaits to whole-grain tortilla breakfast tacos, students are being provided both sit-down and “grab & go” options to accommodate their varying schedules. Texas’ Olympic breakfast games include exercises alongside a healthy meal. Tomorrow’s “twin day” asks kids to pick a friend and dress alike, and those who do gain access to three-legged races (after stretching, of course)!

U.S. government-run schoolnutrition.org provides the tools and resources necessary for those wishing to startup now, as does Texas’ squaremeals.org.

Anyone questioning the legitimacy of the breakfast initiative can find comfort in research. The National Institute of Health showcases a systemic review of forty-seven breakfast studies on their website, explaining that breakfast eaters tend to be healthier and thinner, despite eating more calories.

Further, co-author Jordan D. Metzi, M.D., and colleagues write, “Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance.”