Eating breakfast fuels the brain

Establishing a breakfast routine early is important for both children and adults

Does the thought of making and eating breakfast make you groan? One third of Canadian adults do not eat breakfast regularly – even though it’s simple to make and good to eat. Establishing a breakfast routine early is important for both children and adults.

Adults who eat breakfast function better throughout the day. Research shows that breakfast kick-starts the brain and body. Studies of adults who do physical labor have found that those who skip breakfast often tire quicker than their breakfast eating co-workers. There is also evidence that eating breakfast may play an important role in getting you to work safely in the morning; drivers who eat breakfast were found to be more attentive and responsive during their morning commutes.

Eating breakfast can also help you maintain a healthy weight by warding off temptation to eat snacks that are less nutritious and by preventing over eating. Because breakfast-skippers tend to eat more in the evening, they often exceed the amount of calories needed in a day and end up gaining weight.

Breakfast is especially important for the growing brains of children and teens. Research has shown that important nutrients missed when breakfast is skipped are not adequately provided throughout the rest of the day. Children who do not eat breakfast often fail to meet recommended levels of Vitamins A, B6, and D, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus and iron. Many of these nutrients play a key role in brain development. Evidence shows children and teens that eat breakfast are often better at understanding ideas and solving problems – essential skills for succeeding at school.

Think there isn’t enough time in the morning to make breakfast? If you are short on time in the mornings try preparing items such as porridge the night before then simply reheat in the morning. Looking for something that you can just grab and go? Fruit, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, and bagels make quick, inexpensive portable breakfasts.

Health Canada recommends children and adults enjoy breakfast every day. When adults eat breakfast, children will too. So be a good role model and eat your brekkie!


–  Rose Soneff is a community nutritionist with Interior Health