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Does skipping breakfast really affect learning

Published on 24/12/18

People often underestimate the profound effect of skipping breakfast, especially its impact on our learning abilities. Eating breakfast provides the vital sustenance you need to not only function in the morning but for the rest of the day. Breakfast has also been proven to influence behaviour and academic performance, two areas that are integral to progression in any educational setting.

Here, we take a closer look at how skipping breakfast really affects learning as well as provide our expert tips on starting the day right with a nutritious and delicious meal.

Breakfast and your academic performance

Eating breakfast every day will have a direct impact on your health and wellness. Brain function is just one of the areas that benefits substantially from a regular, balanced and well-timed breakfast. For children and young people in particular, eating breakfast before they attend school or college means that they’re twice as likely to perform well in tests.

It’s not just performance in exams that has been scrutinised by researchers looking at the effects of eating breakfast. A number of cognitive, behavioural, and academic outcomes have been proven across several studies, including an individual’s day-to-day cognitive ability:

“Changes in cognitive performance are likely to be reflected by changes in behavior. An increase in attention following breakfast, compared with no breakfast, may be reflected by an increase in on-task behavior during lessons. Similarly, changes in cognitive performance may also impact school performance and academic outcomes in a cumulative manner. The beneficial effects of eating breakfast on cognitive performance are expected to be short term and specific to the morning on which breakfast is eaten and to selective cognitive functions.”

Other benefits of eating breakfast

It’s not just your academic success that could be enhanced with the regular eating of a balanced breakfast. Eating breakfast in the morning has been proven to decrease cravings for the rest of the day, meaning you eat less and don’t succumb to unhealthy food and snacks. Eating breakfast is also healthier, lowering the risk of developing various health problems, including Type 2 diabetes.

Eating, not skipping, breakfast has been linked with improved memory, better concentration, lower stress levels and a happier mood.

Making good breakfast choices

Choosing to eat breakfast is a great start, but what you choose to eat makes a difference. Your breakfast should be healthy and balanced, providing the nutrients you need for the rest of the day. Eggs, yogurt, fruit, oatmeal and whole wheat toast are all excellent and thoroughly nutritious options. Avoid eating sugary cereals, white bread and processed meat.

Breakfast isn’t the only meal that should be balanced and nutritious. Eating healthy on a student budget is possible at every meal time!