Attention students: Do not skip breakfast — or your grades could pay a price. Evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body (and brain) needs a fresh supply of glucose — or blood sugar. That's the brain's basic fuel. "Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, they have a problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don't remember things as well."
Sugary cereals get into your body quickly and cause a peak in blood-sugar levels, but the levels then fall dramatically after two hours or so. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is absorbed slowly, so oatmeal eaters gets a slow rise in blood sugar and enough energy to last through the morning.
To keep your brain powered up, the first meal of the day should be rich in protein and good carbohydrates — the whole-grain variety that will sustain you for a long spell rather than the sugary kind that will push your blood sugar up, then let it fall. Here are some breakfast recommendations from the experts:
- Peanut butter and jelly on multigrain bread
- Whole-grain cereals, hot or cold, with low-fat milk or yogurt and 1-2 tablespoons of slivered nuts on top.
- Eggs with bacon or sausage
- A bowl of whole-grain cereal (cold or oatmeal), preferably with nuts, milk, fresh fruit.
- Whole-wheat toast, 1 or 2 eggs, milk, fresh fruit