Skip to main content

Get a Great Start to the Day

Mar 21, 2012 11:39AM ● By Brian O

Family breakfast is healthy and important.

Does eating breakfast every day sound like a good idea that is hard to pull off? If so, you're not alone. More than half of adults (54 percent) say they would like to eat breakfast every day, but only 34 percent actually do.

Wanting to better understand Americans' morning meal habits, Kellogg recently conducted one of the largest surveys ever done on breakfast - Kellogg's Breakfast in America Survey. Findings revealed that nearly all moms (89 percent) want their kids to eat breakfast every day, but 40 percent of moms report their child doesn't do so daily.

"With the school year back in session, the morning time-crunch is on for families, and getting kids to eat nutritiously can be even more challenging," said Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician, award-winning author, and member of the Kellogg Breakfast Council, a panel of third-party nutrition experts dedicated to helping people understand nutrition information and incorporate nutritious foods and habits into the diet.

The survey also found that while nearly all toddlers and preschool-age children are eating breakfast, consumption of breakfast dips as American children grow older.
* About 77 percent of young children eat breakfast every day.
* The number falls to 50 percent in the middle-school years.
* Only 36 percent of high school students eat breakfast every day.

Jana maintains that, "Instilling a breakfast habit while your children are young and maintaining it as kids get older - regardless of whether or not they are in school - will help keep breakfast a staple in their daily routine."

The good news is that the dynamic duo of cereal and milk is a quick and tasty source of 10 nutrients important to growing bodies, including calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc and thiamin. In fact, regular cereal eaters, including children, are less likely to be overweight and have more positive nutrient intake profiles than those who eat cereal less frequently, according to The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Cereal helps: 

* Children get valuable nutrients they might otherwise miss.
* Women of child-bearing age get necessary iron, calcium, fiber and folic acid.
* Elderly people get necessary nutrients with less than 200 calories, which is important as calorie needs decline, but nutrient needs do not.

Smart breakfast choices 

It's important to look for cereals that contain not just whole grains but fiber. Fiber is important because it promotes a healthy digestive tract - which has an impact on overall well-being, according to the International Food Information Council.

The Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients list on packaging is there to help you compare whole grain products so you can choose those higher in dietary fiber. A "good source" has at least 3 grams of fiber, or 10 percent Daily Value. An "excellent source" has at least 5 grams, or 20 percent Daily Value, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

"We've all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day," said Jana. "And that's for good reason. After sleeping, our brains and bodies need food to have a good start to the day. Without it, we are not operating at our best."

To learn more about the health benefits of breakfast and cereal, visit