National Nutrition Month

Posted March 11, 2021

5 Reasons Your Teen Needs Breakfast

Reviewed by Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Published October 7, 2020

Reviewed September 2020

You’ve heard it since grade school: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But with a morning of competing priorities, snooze buttons and questionable appetites, it’s easy to skip breakfast. And too many children and adolescents regularly miss the morning meal.

Eating a nutritious breakfast can help your teen get more nutrition and even perform better at school. Check out these five reasons for your teen to eat breakfast this school year.


Along with sleep and exercise, breakfast is one of the best ways to recharge your batteries. It’s the perfect opportunity to get energy-boosting carbohydrates from foods such as whole-grain bread, oatmeal and fruit. Create a breakfast with staying power using protein and carbohydrate combos such as fruit and yogurt, whole-grain cereal with milk or a whole-grain waffle with nut butter. Breakfast is an ideal way to energize so there will be no sleeping in class!

Improved concentration

Studies suggest that eating a nutritious breakfast improves brain function — particularly memory and recall. This is essential for soaking up new knowledge and applying it later for a big exam.

Better grades

Research shows students who eat breakfast perform better academically. It’s not fully understood why, but scientists believe it may be because breakfast supplies essential nutrients to the nervous system to rev up brain power. Or the explanation could simply be that breakfast alleviates hunger and a rumbling tummy, which can be distracting and interfere with academic performance, behavior and self-esteem.

Healthy choices

Those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day, which can positively impact long-term health.

It tastes great!

This may be the most compelling reason to enjoy breakfast before a long school day. Warm up with a hearty bowl of oatmeal on a cool morning or hydrate with sweet chunks of fresh fruit and yogurt when it’s warm outside. With so many options on the table, you’re sure to find something that works — peanut butter and jelly on whole-grain toast, whole fruits, eggs, yogurt or last night’s leftovers … what’s not to love?

Encourage eating breakfast daily at home or school and make it easy. Grab-and-go meals such as a waffle with peanut butter, a boiled egg and fruit, or homemade oatmeal bars make eating breakfast a breeze.

Though it may take time, helping your teen eat a nutritious breakfast today will build healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.