Starting the day off with school breakfast

Desk%20BreakfastBy Ashley Michini, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

School’s back in session and the Food Bank of Delaware has a fun School Breakfast Quiz to help you learn some things you may not know about the USDA’s School Breakfast program.

True or False: School Breakfast through the USDA National School Lunch Program is intended only for children from low-income families

FALSE! School breakfast is for everyone! All students can benefit from a healthy start to their day. Delaware’s children need full stomachs in order to succeed. School breakfast programs greatly benefit students from all backgrounds and provide students the ability to start their days off right.

True or False: The best way to support your school district’s School Breakfast program is to make sure children participate in it

TRUE! It’s as easy as that, increased participation strengthens school breakfast programs. It provides increased funding to schools through reimbursements and keeps students satisfied, so they can focus on learning instead of longing for lunch.

Parents—encourage your children to eat breakfast at school. Teachers and School Personnel—Lead by example, and participate in School Breakfast yourself. Show students that eating a nutrient-rich breakfast at school is not only good for you, but a fun program that their school provides.

True or False: Breakfast improves students’ behavior in the classroom

TRUE! Not only does breakfast aid students’ physical health, it also provides behavioral wellness that makes for a more pleasant and productive classroom setting. The Share our Strength organization’s 2013 Teachers Report found that 88 percent of teachers agree that hungry kids cannot concentrate, 82 percent of teachers noted that students who don’t start their days with breakfast lack energy, and over two-thirds of teachers recognized that children who are hungry cause discipline problems in the classroom. School Breakfast is the answer—it widely increases students’ ability to concentrate and lowers the risk of emotional/behavioral complications in youth.

True or False: Eating breakfast at home is better than eating School Breakfast

FALSE! Expert nutritionists that work with the federal government have designed the School Breakfast served through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program so that it is a perfectly balanced, nutritious meal to encourage healthy physical development for students. Research compiled by the Food Research and Action Center shows that participation in the School Breakfast Program decreases obesity and high Body Mass Indices in adolescents, and at the same time, boosts kids’ daily nutrient intake.

Classroom%20Breakfast_0True or False: The only place students eat school breakfast is in the cafeteria.

FALSE! Many schools have found that it’s easier to get children to eat breakfast when they have more options than just traditional served meals in the cafeteria.

Picture the fast-paced start of the school day, kids getting off the bus and making their way through the crowded hallways to chat with friends before class, at the same time, teachers on duty do their best to make sure the students arrive to class before the bell. Blaring loudspeakers broadcast announcements of late busses, parents try to make their way to the main office to take care of looming administrative paperwork. With all of this movement, it’s often a challenge for students to have enough time to go through the cafeteria line, receive their breakfast, find a seat in the cafeteria and eat it before first period. This is where Alternative School Breakfast models come in. Here are three proven models that adapt to the start of the school day:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom
    • Breakfast in the Classroom skips students’ trek to the cafeteria all-together. Instead they head directly to their classes, and breakfasts are delivered directly to them. Having all students eat together with their peers greatly reduces the stigma associated with School Breakfast and makes it accessible to all children. Contrary to the belief that Breakfast in the Classroom actually provides more time for teachers’ lessons, since their pupils go directly to class and don’t dawdle in the halls. In Delaware, Seaford Middle School saw a 481 percent increase in participation in school breakfast by using Breakfast in the Classroom! An additional 600 children served each day.
  • Second Chance
    • Sometimes students aren’t hungry when they arrive at school in the early morning. The Second Chance program gives an option of either having traditional breakfast in the morning, or taking an on-the-go breakfast to eat between first and second period or during a designated nutrition break.
  • Grab and Go Breakfast
    • The Grab and Go format allows students to choose the breakfast items they like best from either the cafeteria or a food cart stationed in the hallway, and then bring it to their class to consume during the morning announcements.

Want to do more to help students achieve? Get your school to participate in the Food Bank of Delaware’s first-ever School Breakfast Challenge- an exciting opportunity for schools making major gains in breakfast participation to win cash awards for their performance!

To help increase participation in the school breakfast program, we issued a challenge last spring at our second annual Ending Hunger Conference. Thanks to a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Education, ten awards ranging from $3,000 to $500 will be made available to eight district schools and two charter or nonpublic schools. Cash grants will be awarded to the school with the highest breakfast participation in October 2014 and the most-improved breakfast participation from October 2013 to October 2014. More information can be found here http://www.fbd.org/school-breakfast-challenge/.

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Filed under Advocate, Children's Nutrition

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