Research shows that children who have a healthy breakfast are more likely to achieve better academic progress than those who come to school hungry.
Research by Magic Breakfast funded by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2016 concluded that having a healthy breakfast resulted in an average of 2 months’ worth of additional progress for pupils for year 2 (those aged 6-7).
It makes perfect sense therefore that if children see an improvement in performance that there is no reason why this should not continue into adulthood.
It’s no secret that breakfast is an important meal. Starting the day with something nutritious not only kick-starts your metabolism, but it has a major impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. When it comes to business, this is becoming increasingly important as skipping breakfast can have huge impacts on productivity levels.
Unfortunately, missing breakfast has become a part of modern life. It’s hard to fit in when people are already leaving the house extra early to get in a few more minutes work in the office and leaving later than usual. Whilst this might sound like more work is getting done, skipping breakfast is having adverse effects on employers and employees alike.
For example, feelings of hunger and fatigue result in low energy levels, which can be very distracting. Despite these effects, 50% of UK employees now say they don’t have time for breakfast, while 15% admit to feeling too anxious before work to eat anything. Yet sitting at a desk waiting for the next meal time or waiting to go home because employees feel they have exhausted their capacity to work will potentially lead staff to feel even more anxious and unmotivated.
This often means that employees reach for something caffeinated or sugary mid-morning, providing a much less beneficial start to the day than a proper breakfast. Skipping breakfast causes a lack of alertness and a shorter concentration span, it’s no secret that hunger leads people to feel irritable.
Research has also shown that those who skip breakfast lose up to 80 minutes of productivity a day, costing big companies a staggering £471,000 a year. These numbers speak for themselves in terms of how important it is to encourage employees to eat a healthy breakfast.
George Rouse, Head Chef and owner of George’s Kitchen, a boutique catering company with experience in assisting businesses, has outlined the benefits of businesses encouraging a healthy start to the day.
It ensures employees work well
Sugary breakfast alternatives such as cereal bars (and some cereals) might give people a quick burst of energy in the morning, but that won’t be sustained. Porridge is filling, slowly releases energy and can be sweetened with fruits like bananas, the perfect addition as the potassium can decrease feelings of fatigue. This is an ideal option if you want to increase productivity in the workplace.
It encourages over eating later in the day
People who skip breakfast are more likely to reach for snacks throughout the day at their desk as they will become increasingly hungry. This leads people to over-eat in an attempt to quickly fuel themselves as they are still hungry. If employees really don’t have time, then options like Greek yogurt topped with fruit, honey and a low-sugar granola can be made up at work and eaten as the working day is beginning, encouraging employees to start the day with something that will keep them full for the next few hours.
Health impacts work
If employees are feeling sluggish and run-down then their motivation is likely to decrease, along with their productivity levels. The physical impacts of not eating breakfast will also impact work, as if someone isn’t feeling their best, then their work won’t be either and it can even lead to time being taken off. It’s known that high cholesterol leads to illnesses such as heart disease but eating breakfast can be an effective way of reducing it. For example, wholemeal bread or wholegrain cereals can lower cholesterol, maintaining employees’ health and ensuring they are ready to face the day.
It sets up a positive morning routine
All too often, people begrudgingly get out of bed, get ready and then head to work. Those who don’t have a proper routine in place are likely to feel less prepared to start the day and less motivated as they haven’t given themselves any time to really get ready in the morning. Having breakfast can be a big part of preparing to face the day in the morning. No one wants to start the day feeling sluggish, it will only make people count down the hours until they can go home, dramatically reducing the quality in the work they are producing.
Perhaps it’s time for us rethink that early morning coffee break and turn it into a proper breakfast meeting for the good of not only our employees but also the bottom line?