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Healthy breakfasts for student brains

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Published: 14 March 2022

Cuisine sign at the University of Sunderland in London

We all know that what we eat has a huge impact on our bodies and our general health. A diet of lots of fats and sugars will not only affect our weight but how we feel as well. 

That’s because food fuels everything we do, from our ability to focus in class to having the energy to complete that assignment.  

It all starts with breakfast. You’ve probably heard the old phrase ‘the most important meal of the day’.  

While this is easy to dismiss if you need to rush to a lecture or have caring responsibilities, what you choose to eat first thing has a major impact on how the rest of your day goes.  

To give your brain the best start, try out some of our suggestions below. 

Whole grains 

Whole grains are, as the name suggests, made from the entirety of the seed including the skin which is normally removed for things like white bread. 

That means you’ll be getting all the extra nutrients typically missed out by processed food. 

Whole grains are very good for blood flow, helping to bring more oxygen to your brain. Try finding a whole-grain porridge and mashing some banana in there for a healthy but sweet start to your morning. 


Like whole grains, avocados have lots of nutrients that help to increase the amount of blood flowing around your system. 

This has the added benefit of lowering your blood pressure, which leads to less stress and a more focused start to your day. 

A quick to make a sandwich of avocado, eggs and leafy greens is a delicious and simple way to feel the benefits. 


Studies have shown that blueberries help with short term memory, something which is vital when getting ready for class and as well as focusing in lectures. 

They’re also known to protect your brain from stress, which is something every university student needs to be thinking about. 

A quick smoothie of blueberries, yoghurt milk and a dash of honey will fill you up and give you the boost you need to start your day. 


Not typically on your breakfast menu, broccoli has hidden benefits to the early morning mind.  

It’s filled with vitamin K which has been shown to improve the effectiveness of your brain to make connections (known as cognitive ability) and the chemical sulforaphane that plays a big part in repair.  

Try adding broccoli to a mixture of whisked eggs and milk before frying it off for a frittata (or omelette) for an unusual but delicious breakfast. 

Pumpkin seeds 

Pumpkin seeds are filled with omega-3, a fat that’s known to assist brain development.  

Eating a good portion of these before starting your day will help wake you up get you ready to focus in class. 

You could add them to a homemade breakfast bar like the one in this link. It’s best to make these the night before so you can just grab one in the morning on your way out the door. 

Whatever you decide to eat for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of your day so it makes sense to choose something both healthy and delicious. 

What do you eat before coming to class? Share your photos with the University of Sunderland in London community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.

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