CEO, K-12 Schools
Sodexo North America
Every year the month of September is dedicated to celebrating the importance of eating breakfast as a part of a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle. The power of breakfast is often underestimated. The food we choose affects our energy level, our ability to focus and our power to think clearly. This has been proven with students in the classroom and with athletes on the field—it stands to reason that it makes a difference in the workplace as well.
There is no better way to kick start your day than with a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast and waiting to fuel your body until later in the day equates to lost opportunities to perform at your best. Similar to a car, breakfast is the fuel that gets you going in the morning. As a busy executive in a global company, I need to be able to think clearly, problem-solve, focus and maintain high energy levels throughout the day. Eating breakfast on a regular basis simply helps your brain to work better.
I understand the many benefits breakfast brings to children in the classroom including greater attentiveness, improved behavior and improvements on test scores, not to mention the basic satisfaction of a full belly. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, until a human’s basic needs are met it’s hard to focus on anything else—especially if you’re a child. Children, athletes, college students, adults and seniors—everyone needs breakfast.
To benefit from breakfast, eat the right foods in the right ratios. A great resource for identifying how to build a healthy breakfast meal is the USDA ChooseMyPlate icon. Planning and making time to eat can be two barriers to consuming a healthy breakfast. Using resources such as ChooseMyPlate and other recipe sites to come up with simple creative meal solutions can encourage you and your family to take time to eat breakfast.
When your schedule is busy, the School Breakfast Program is an excellent option for your student. The School Breakfast Program must follow government guidelines for healthy meals so you can be assured your child receives important nutrients so they are ready to start their day and focus on learning. If your school currently does not offer school breakfast, talk to your district about options for making this meal an important addition to their students’ overall academic and personal success.
Steve Dunmore is President, Sodexo School Services.