Our Webinar Wednesday series continued on November 2nd with a terrific presentation on breakfast in the classroom. The focus of last week’s webinar was the future of school breakfast, and included strategies for growth and expansion. Moderated by Ali Dorazio (MS, RD), nutrition scientist at the General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition, we heard presentations from Karen Hallford (MS, RD, CSP) and Byron Sackett; Karen is Nutrition Education Coordinator at Gwinnett Public Schools, Suwanee, GA and Byron Sackett is the Child Nutrition Director at Lincoln County Schools in Lincolnton, NC. It was a fruitful 75 minutes, yielding wonderful suggestions and solutions for meeting challenges facing breakfast programs like finances, infrastructure/delivery, food safety, pest control, and of course, engaging stakeholders and coalition building.
Right off the bat some statistics and facts about the benefits of breakfast caught my attention. Did you know:
- Breakfast provides fewer than 20% of our daily calories, but significant levels of key vitamins like calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Nutrients missed at breakfast are not typically “made up” in meals throughout the rest of the day, so missing breakfast means missing nutrients.
- Breakfast is linked to better school performance in terms of students with more positive attitudes, as well as fewer tardies and absences as well as improved math & reading scores.
- Breakfast is also linked to improved memory, alertness, concentration, problem-solving ability, test scores, attendance, and mood.
- Out of 48.8 million people living in food insecure households 16.2 million are children—that’s nearly 22 % of kids living in US that are living in food insecure households. (FRAC)
- 24% of households with kids reported times in 2010 when they didn’t have enough money to buy food they needed (FRAC)
The take away from this is that school breakfast can help families with limited resources by delivering kids the key nutrients they need to stay healthy. The School Breakfast Program provides a full one-quarter of day’s recommended levels of key nutrients. Twenty five percent.
Karen did a great job of addressing an issue facing many school food professionals: how to meet some of the changes presented by the proposed USDA meal pattern changes. She provided sample menus, and covered how the proposed sodium, fruit, whole-grain, and protein requirements could be handled. Byron addressed ways to overcome financial hurdles, with tips on how to tackle potential cost factors and tips on how to collaborate with stakeholders to “work smarter” toward workable solutions. We encourage you to find the archived webinar online to get the complete set of PowerPoint slides, including the sample menus that we think you will find invaluable as we get closer to the new proposed meal pattern release.
We hope you will sign up for our next webinar, to be held on November 16. “Addressing Food Safety in School Produce Purchasing” will feature Julie Skolmowski (MPH, RD, SNS) Food Safety Specialist, Office of Food Safety, USDA Food & Nutrition Service; Loren LaCorte, USDA Farm to School Lead Team, Child Nutrition Division, USDA Food & Nutrition Service; Stewart Eidel, Section Chief, Professional Development & Technical Assistance, School & Community Nutrition Programs Branch, Maryland Dept. of Education; Sarah Trist (MS, RD), Program Specialist, Maryland State Dept. of Education; Dian Duncan-Goldsmith (MS, RD, LD), Director of Food Service, Iowa City Community School District. In this webinar, a USDA expert will explain how to incorporate food safety—including GAPs and liability insurance—into produce purchases, and share success stories. A local foodservice director will discuss her district’s food safety requirements for local farms and distributers. You can sign up for our November 16 Webinar Wednesday at the School Nutrition Foundation Webinar Wednesday page. The webinar will be held at 2 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. CDT/12 p.m. MDT/11 a.m. PDT.