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Eggs in Schools

Eggs and Breakfast Benefits

Although scientific evidence is limited in school-aged populations, there is an increasing number of studies in adults supporting the benefits of breakfast. Here are some ways that eggs and breakfast may help students and staff in your schools.

Satiety and weight control

  • For about 70 calories, eggs are a natural form of portion control. When eaten at breakfast, the high-quality protein in eggs may keep individuals satisfied longer, helping them consume fewer calories throughout the day.1
  • Emerging research shows that a protein-rich breakfast with eggs can improve appetite control in adolescents who usually skip it. When teens ate an egg in the morning, they were less hungry and ate approximately 130 fewer calories at lunch.2

Breakfast and cognition

  • Multiple scientific studies demonstrate cognitive benefits for eating breakfast, especially for students of lower socioeconomic status. Breakfast at school can improve memory recall time, grades and standardized test scores.3
  • Research also shows that eating breakfast is a marker for overall health and improved behavior in school children. Breakfast eaters are less likely to miss school due to illness or other issues and are less likely to be tardy to class4
  • According to the 2015 Hunger in Our Schools: Share Our Strength’s Teachers Report,5 91 percent of educators say breakfast is critical to achievement, while 75 percent of teachers regularly see children who come to school hungry.

Key messages

  • Children and teens need protein and other nutrients to grow normally, develop appropriately and stay healthy. Eggs provide all-natural, high-quality protein as well as varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals – the building blocks that young people need to grow and the energy they need to stay focused.
  • Eggs are a familiar, popular breakfast item for students – and an easy-to-prepare option for other school meals. With high-quality, easily-digestible protein, well-prepared eggs offer students a delicious package of nutrients that provide them with mind and body energy.
  • At any school meal, naturally nutrient-rich eggs can satisfy a child’s particular taste buds with a familiar, convenient meat alternate, especially for vegetarians. Eggs are nature’s original form of portion control and are a good option for after-school snacks, especially before and after athletic practices and other events.
  • Today’s eggs are 14 percent lower in cholesterol than measured in 2002.6
  • More than 40 years of research has demonstrated that healthy individuals can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease. Combining eggs with heart-smart foods, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and other lean proteins makes sense for all ages.

Sources:

1. Leidy HJ, Racki EM. The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effect on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast skipping’ adolescents. Int J Obs; 2010; 34(7):1125-33.

2. Rampersaud G, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. JADA 2005; 105:743-760.

3. Pollitt E, et al. Fasting and cognition in well- and undernourished school children:a review of three experimental studies. AJCN 1998; 67:779S-784S.

4. 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.

5. Hunger In Our Schools: Teachers Report 2015, Share Our Strength, Washington, DC. http://www.hungerinourschools.org/img/NKH-HungerInOurSchoolsReport-2015.pdf. Accessed June 9, 2016.

6. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl. Accessed December 19, 2013.

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