Authors as Published

Stephanie K. Swinerton, R.D., Graduate Assistant, Family Nutrition Program

Did you know your body is just like a car? Both need fuel to run! A car needs gas to make it go and you need food to make you go. Your body burns food just like a car burns fuel. Food you eat provides you with nutrients that help your body work right. The most important meal of the day is breakfast. It is the best time to re-fuel your engine. “Break-fast” means that you are breaking the fast from not eating while you sleep. Just like a car, if your body doesn’t get enough fuel, it won’t work. Grab a whole-grain, a fruit or vegetable, and a dairy food before you start your day.





Did you know?

Kids who skip breakfast:

  • Have shorter attention spans
  • Have poor concentration
  • Score lower on tests
  • Are more likely to have behavior problems


So break the 
fast and start 
your engine 
with a healthy 
before you go 
to school!

Solve this puzzle.

Draw a circle around the first letter and then every other letter until you come to the apple. Write the circled letters below.

When you feed your body you also feed your brain. After food is broken down in your stomach and intestines, nutrients from the food are absorbed into your bloodstream and delivered to all parts of your body, including your brain. Your brain needs the energy from food so it can function at its best.




___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___    ___ ___ ___    ___ ___ ___ ___ ___    ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Energy Level.

No breakfast – a person soon looks like this.


If you eat sugary food, such as soda or candy, for breakfast, you might feel good 


... but you will look like this in about one hour.


If you eat cereal, toast, milk, and fruit, you will have energy for several hours.


Got a sleepy tummy?

Some kids are groggy in the morning and are not ready to eat breakfast. To help your “sleepy tummy” try the following:

  • Before going to bed at night, plan a breakfast food and your clothes for the next day
  • Get up a little bit earlier to give yourself time to sit down and eat breakfast. This will help avoid rushing out the door without breakfast.

Ask your family to help you plan a breakfast.

A well-balanced breakfast should include foods from all the major food groups.

The right breakfast for kids includes:

  • 1 ounce of grain equivalent (such as 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal)
  • 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetable (1/2 cup of fruit or vegetable juice or 1 small piece of fruit)
  • 1 cup of a dairy food (1 1/2 ounces of cheese, 1 cup low-fat milk, or 1/2 cup yogurt)

In this space, draw your favorite breakfast that you can make yourself!









This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services. 

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Reviewed by Kathy Hosig, Ph.D., associate professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

August 2, 2011