Can you believe it? We’re already halfway through National Nutrition Month! Just like breakfast is the best way to start your day, National School Breakfast Week was the best way to kick off National Nutrition Month and we had a blast sharing your #NSBW16 stories and photos on social media.
We often employ the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but what does that really mean? When it comes to school breakfast, the importance lies beyond the meal itself; in addition to nutrition, school breakfast—especially alternative models like universal BIC!—offers students many crucial benefits. In honor of National Nutrition Month we have compiled five of our favorite school breakfast “fast facts” that illustrate why breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Fact 1: Students who eat school breakfast have improved attendance and test scores, and are more likely to graduate from high school.
Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign reported in 2013 that on average, students who eat school breakfast attend 1.5 more days of school per year and score 17.5 percent higher on standardized math tests; when combined, these factors translate into a student being twenty percent more likely to graduate high school.
Fact 2: Schools serving breakfast in the classroom see improved attendance, and fewer disciplinary referrals; students also perform better academically.
We love this FRAC infographic that clearly displays the benefits of school breakfast and breakfast in the classroom. No matter where students eat breakfast they demonstrate better grades and test scores, but students eating breakfast in the classroom are also benefitting from a sense of community that eliminates the stigma often associated with school breakfast.
Fact 3: Eating a healthy, nutritious breakfast lowers the risk of childhood obesity.
We grownups know that when we skip breakfast, we end up pretty hungry by lunchtime, and sometimes that means we make poor food choices because we are so hungry. Not only does a nutritious school breakfast help kick start a student’s metabolism, it keeps them fueled throughout the morning so they can continue to make healthy choices at lunch.
Fact 4: Kids who skip breakfast may not have the opportunity to make up the lost calories and nutrients.
Missing out on essential nutrients is bad enough, but many kids (and adults, for that matter) don’t make up for what they miss when they skip breakfast. When students have access to breakfast at school, they have access to the nutrition they need to grow and learn.
Fact 5: When combined with Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), breakfast-in-the-classroom can be served at no charge to students, increasing participation and maximizing student success.
With the expansion of CEP, more schools are finding breakfast-in-the-classroom is the right fit for them. From Houston County Schools in Georgia, where they rolled out BIC in sixteen new CEP buildings to Des Moines, Iowa, pairing CEP and breakfast-in-the-classroom is turning out to be a recipe for school breakfast success.
References: Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom; Food Research and Action Center; Virginia School Breakfast Report, Virginia Hunger Solutions