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Does eating breakfast mean better grades for teens?

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The morning rush is hectic, and sometimes breakfast gets skipped.

But there’s good reason to make sure kids eat before they head out the door.

Recent research shows teens who eat breakfast before school perform better academically.

Dr. Amy Sniderman, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, was not involved in the study but said breakfast fuels a growing brain.

“The brain is one of the few tissues in the body that needs food, primarily, to fuel it,” Sniderman said. “Other organs and muscles can break down fats from the body, or break down muscle tissue in more extreme cases, and use that as fuel, but the brain cannot; it actually needs food to fuel it.”

The study looks at British adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18.

The teens recorded whether they ate breakfast, how often, and also provided information on their grades.

Results show regularly eating breakfast is associated with better academic performance.

Sniderman said, without breakfast, kids of all ages may feel irritable and tired, which can lead to behavior and attention problems.

She said when a child’s brain has adequate fuel, they are better able to perform and learn.

For busy families, Sniderman recommends planning a quick, nutritious meal in advance.

“I suggest, especially the teenagers, to prep it the night before so they can just grab it and go,” she said. “Hardboiled eggs are great, even a sandwich, a peanut butter sandwich, a deli meat sandwich, fruit with some nut butter, if they don’t have allergies.”

Sniderman said granola bars can be a good breakfast choice as well, as long as they have some protein and are low in sugar.

Complete results for the study can be found in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.