“breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
Anyone that knows me knows I am definitely not a morning person and breakfast is the last thing on my mind. I have always ignored this well known phrase but I’m starting to see the real truth behind it and so I thought I’d look at the facts behind the saying.
Many surveys have been conducted in regards to children going without breakfast with the latest stating that one in seven go without breakfast every morning. In early 2015, 38% of teachers noted that they saw children coming into school hungry. One of the main problems is that parents are saying they cannot afford to give their children breakfast leaving them no other option than to let their child got to school without. Kellogs have picked up on this and have started a campaign that pays for a bowl per box to go to food banks to help those families who are struggling and cant give their children a proper breakfast on the morning to set them up for the day. Just one bowl of cereal can help a child from being tired and uninterested in the day ahead into a child who is wide awake and ready to learn. Seems to make a lot of sense to me.
Children who have gone without breakfast are much more likely to be restless, ratty and won’t pay attention. This will not only affect their own learning but will affect others too. Children who have come to school with a proper breakfast will be put at a disadvantage due to the restless children who just want some food on the morning. Many schools have started to bring in breakfast clubs to the children that they have noticed come to school hungry, this is a great way to get the children engaged and ready to learn. However, a lack of funding makes this hard with many teachers dipping into their own pocket to make this happen!
You can see why teachers feel so passionate about it when you look at just how influential breakfast can be for a child’s education. Without a decent breakfast it can lower cognition, decrease your mood, decrease blood sugar inducing dizziness and headaches. It is being increasingly found that children who have breakfast on a morning found problem solving easier performing higher in mental tests. A study by Richter etal (1997) tested children who were in their first two years of school and compared their behaviour a day without and a day with breakfast. Results from observation showed a decrease in off task behaviour and getting out of their seat to do something else, easily distracted. Their participation in class increased and they began to have positive relationships with their classmates. This study just highlights how breakfast doesn’t just affect cognition, grades, but also social interaction. Children who go without breakfast are disadvantaged socially due to bad moods and high tempers. This can all be solved just by a bowl of cereal!
This isn’t just true for children; breakfast has the same effects in EVERYONE, setting you up for the day ahead. It’ll make me think twice before I dash out early on the morning without a proper breakfast.
Richter, L. M., Rose, C., & Griesel, R. D. (1997). Cognitive and behavioural effects of a school breakfast. S Afr Med J, 87(1 Suppl), 93-100.