Earlier this month we posted a blog about all the healthy observances celebrated in September, but we left one off because it deserves a blog post all its own! September is National Breakfast Month, and in case you haven’t guessed, here at Beyond Breakfast we are HUGE breakfast fans! When it comes to mornings, breakfast changes everything, especially for kids, which is why school breakfast is our passion.
Research shows that kids who eat breakfast at school perform better on standardized tests, exhibit better classroom behavior, and are less likely to be overweight. Did you know that if a child misses breakfast, they rarely make up the nutrients they missed as the day wears on? School breakfast provides 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calories, protein, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A & C, meeting the federal nutrition guidelines based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The great news about school breakfast is that it’s gaining momentum; each year we see more schools and districts seeking to implement or expand school breakfast programs. The popularity of the Community Eligibility Provision means that this year, more students from around the country will receive their school breakfast—and school lunch—for free, eliminating the “free/reduced” stigma that can inhibit the success of a school breakfast program. Universal school breakfast breaks down that barrier between students and their morning meal, allowing students the opportunity to fuel their brains and bodies so they are ready to learn.
Over the years we have published a lot of great school breakfast stories. One of our favorites is this video from ANC 2013, featuring Stacey and Sylvia. This mother-daughter school nutrition team visited the School Nutrition Foundation’s booth at ANC in Kansas City, and shared their story with us on camera.
Another one of our favorite school breakfast blogs was our two-part series entitled “A Wellness Wake-up Call.” Originally appearing as an article in School Nutrition Magazine, “A Wellness Wake-up Call” addresses the impact of The Wellness Impact report, which was created jointly between National Dairy Council, GENYOUth Foundation, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American School Health Association. The report addresses how schools can play a vital role in shaping the future through a combination of improved nutrition—specifically school breakfast—and increased opportunities for physical activity.
Monthly observances and celebrations like National Breakfast Month give school nutrition professionals an opportunity for marketing tie-ins, which are in turn opportunities to promote programs like school breakfast to students. Planning special menus, creating “National Breakfast Month” cafeteria decorations, and even holding student taste-tests or other contests are all terrific ways to increase awareness of your school breakfast program. Fun, creative marketing strategies that grab students’ attention can result in increased participation for a more successful school breakfast program.
We hope you are having a wonderful National Breakfast Month, and that you’re celebrating daily with a healthy, nutritious morning meal! If you are a school nutrition professional seeking additional information and resources for school breakfast, we recommend the following:
- USDA Food & Nutrition Service School Breakfast Program
- Food Research & Action Center School Breakfast Program
- NEA HIN Breakfast in the Classroom
- School Nutrition Association School Breakfast Resources
- No Kid Hungry School Breakfast Best Practices
- National Dairy Council School Nutrition Resources (breakfast + lunch)
- Fuel Up to Play 60 2014-15 Playbook