Breakfast benefits

In this section:

Eating breakfast makes a difference.

Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to:

  • Have better intake of nutrients ¹⁻⁴
  • Consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber over the course of their day ³,⁷,⁸
  • Have healthier body weights ¹⁻⁵

A serving of cereal with milk costs about US 50 cents on average – one of the most inexpensive and efficient ways to get key vitamins and minerals.

On average, breakfast contributes less than 20 percent of daily calories, while delivering more than 30 percent of needed calcium, iron and B vitamins. ⁶

And, kids who eat breakfast – including cereal – tend to perform better in school and have fewer disciplinary problems.

Research also suggests that breakfast helps kids stay alert and perform cognitive tasks better. ¹⁰⁻¹²

Cereal and nutrition

Cereal is convenience any time of day.

It combines great value with great health and nutritional benefits.

Studies show that:

  • Cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters.
  • People who eat cereal have better intake of nutrients, including fiber, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Ready-to-eat cereals account for a relatively small amount of children’s sugar consumption (approximately 4 percent of children’s daily sugar intake).

Eating cereal also has the added benefit of promoting milk consumption in children and adults, with milk adding critical nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.


1 Cho S et al. The effect of breakfast type on total daily energy intake and body mass index: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).J Am Coll Nutr 2003;22(4):296-302.

2 Timlin et al. Breakfast frequency and quality in the etiology of adult obesity and chronic diseases. Nutr Rev 2007;65:268-281.

3 Barton BA et al. The relationship of breakfast and cereal consumption to nutrient intake and body mass index: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:1383-1389.

4 Song WO et al. Is consumption of breakfast associated with Body Mass Index in US adults? J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:1373-1382.

5 Wyatt H et al. Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the national weight control registry. Obes Res 2002;10:78-82.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data.

Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [2007-08][].

7 Rampersaud et al. Breakfast Habits, Nutritional status, body weight and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:743-760.

8 Nicklas TA et al. Nutrient contribution of breakfast, secular trends, and the role of ready-to-eat cereals: A review of data from the Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:757S-63S.

10 Murphy JM et al. The Relationship of School Breakfast to Psychosocial and Academic Functioning: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Observations in an inner-city School Sample. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1998;152:899-907.

11 Wahlstrom KL and Begalle MS. More than test scores: Results of the universal school breakfast pilot in Minnesota. Top Clin Nutr 1999;(1):17-29.

12 Wesnes KA et al. Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite 2003;41:329-331.