3 of the Best Foods to Eat Before the School Day

Holly Riddle

By Holly Riddle

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As the school year commences, it can be tough to get back into the swing of things. Schedules shift and suddenly you find that your mornings are far more hectic than they were over the summer. However, you still shouldn’t neglect sending your child to school (and yourself to work) without a healthy breakfast. 

A family eating breakfast together at a table.

While you might hear about “the importance of a healthy breakfast” so often that it feels like it’s just one of those things people say, without any really proof behind it, research does point to a correlation between eating a regular breakfast and improved academic performance. So what should you be feeding the kiddos for the best results possible? These are some of the research-backed best foods to eat before the school (or work!) day.

1. Blueberries

While all fruit is a great option before the school day, blueberries have been specifically shown to improve mental performance across a range of age groups. In addition, a same study that showed blueberries result in improved mental performance also showed that blueberries can improve mood. 

Blueberries in a plastic container at the store.

Beyond this, blueberries are also nutrient-dense and low-calorie, and can improve your health in a variety of ways, from your liver to blood pressure to vision. 

For a blueberry-based breakfast treat that you can whip up ahead of time, try these blueberry scones. No time for baking? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating these finger-food-appropriate berries on the go. 

2. Eggs (Particularly Egg Yolks)

One study found that egg yolks in particular help to increase short-term learning, memory, attention and overall cognitive performance in children — and this is on top of eggs’ other health benefits, like protein, vitamins and nutrients. 

Full of Goodness Egg Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast egg muffins are a quick breakfast you can make ahead of time and then reheat as needed. Add spinach and other veggies into the mix for even more health benefits.

3. Oats

Multiple studies have found that oats can help children perform better in memory tests, particularly those that tested spatial memory skills like those used in math and geography. The studies also showed that oats improved these skills more so than other breakfast options, such as cereal (though the studies did note that cereal still improved performance to some degree, when compared to eating no breakfast at all).

A healthy bowl of oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and walnuts.
Masha Avena/Shutterstock

While oatmeal is an easy-enough breakfast to throw together in the morning, with minimal time on your hands, consider also getting a little creative if you have extra time, by making, for example, these overnight oats with a rhubarb compote, or hazelnut and butter oatmeal.

Foods to Avoid Before the School Day

When prepping for the next school day’s breakfast, there are also a few things you should avoid — but they all pretty much fall into the same category: junk food.

As a 2020 report found, calorie-dense junk food can negatively impact cognitive development in children and skills such as memory, regulation and attention. So, while it can be tempting, skip the toaster pastries and sugary cereals this school year. Your child’s academic performance will thank you.