Apr 21, 2014

Is Breakfast Really That Important on Test Days? Did you know the kind of breakfast your child eats the morning of a standardized tests can lead to higher overall test scores? A Children's expert explains.

All across Texas this week, kids are gearing up to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™), a standardized test they’ve been preparing for all year.

You probably remember testing days from when you were in grade school, and while the names of tests have changed, one thing has stayed the same – a note sent home reminding kids to eat a healthy breakfast.

What Kind of Test Breakfast Is Best?

According to Kara Gann, a Clinical Dietitian at Children's Medical Center, healthy breakfast choices are carbohydrate-rich foods like fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Since these foods are more slowly digested, they provide a steady supply of glucose. Adding protein to the mix helps maintain the energy supply even longer, ensuring the brain has enough go-power to last until lunch. Use the table below to mix-and-match a healthy breakfast. Choose a carbohydrate food to supply the fuel and a protein/fat to sustain that energy flow throughout the day.

Carbohydrate Energy Supplier        

  • Oatmeal        
  • Whole wheat bread, pita or tortilla        
  • Corn tortilla        
  • Fresh or frozen fruit        
  • Whole grain cereals (low sugar)    
  • Avocado    

Protein/Fat Energy Supplier

  • Peanut butter
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Canadian bacon/ham
  • Beans
  • Almonds/nuts    

Carbohydrate + Protein

  • 1% or skim milk
  • Low-fat Greek or plain yogurt
  • Low-sugar fruit yogurt
  • Reduced-fat cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, etc.)

Eating Breakfast Can Increase Test Scores

Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast have higher test scores, retain information better and tend to have more focus than those who do not.TestBreakfast2

The reason for this is our brain requires food for fuel, just as our muscles do. While our muscles can use stored energy from food we ate yesterday, our brain prefers energy from food we have eaten recently.

When there is not adequate glucose, or blood sugar, for the brain to use as fuel, we don’t concentrate as well or feel as alert. Eating breakfast ensures that blood sugar levels return to normal after the long time without eating while you were asleep.

Breakfast breaks the fast, waking up our bodies and brains to let them know it’s time to get going. Leave us a comment to tell us some of your child’s favorite healthy breakfast choices.