Why School Breakfast Matters

We all know that children do better in class when they start their day with breakfast. But far too many students in Pennsylvania still are not getting the nutrition they need at school, which can negatively affect their health as well as their ability to learn and succeed academically.

Together, we can address this problem. The School Breakfast Program is proven to decrease discipline and behavioral problems, visits to the school nurse, and tardiness in schools, while increasing student attentiveness and attendance. Studies also find that students who eat school breakfast show improved reading and math skills, as well as higher scores on standardized tests.

By ensuring more students have access to school breakfast, we can help to improve health and learning outcomes for all children in Pennsylvania. Learn more

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“Smart Start” the School Day

You have heard the old adage that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well, it’s true. Research confirms that breakfast is the one meal children and teens should not go without. Studies continue to show that children who eat breakfast perform better in school. They score higher on standardized achievement tests, work faster, are more creative and make fewer mistakes than breakfast skippers.

Eating breakfast reduces hunger and it contributes to the nutritional quality of the diets of children and teens. Children who skip breakfast generally have lower intakes of key nutrients than those who regularly eat breakfast. These low intakes are not made up for at other meals. Furthermore, children who eat breakfast at school have higher intakes of milk and several nutrients at breakfast over a 24-hour period compared to children who eat breakfast at home or skip this meal.

Expanding breakfast participation may be one of the most important tactics for helping children improve their health and academic performance. Make breakfast a vital part of the educational day at your school! Read more about the benefits of breakfast at school.

Popular Breakfast Items

Boy-with-Breakfast-Tray-114x89What breakfast item would students most like to see served in their school cafeteria? Pancakes!  Pancakes were selected as the favorite breakfast item over waffles by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a recent online survey of more than 2,000 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-grade students. Chocolate chip was the favorite flavor, followed by blueberry. When it comes to toppings, about half of the pancake fans chose traditional maple syrup, followed by blueberry. A few respondents would like “every kind” of syrup available, including such flavors as apricot, pineapple and strawberry. Eggs, especially scrambled, was another popular breakfast item, selected well ahead of cereal and rolls. The Dream Kitchen® survey was conducted by the youth marketing firm Y-Pulse, LLC.

Source: School Nutrition Association

Resources

Breakfast in the Classroom Resource Center

Thinking about implementing breakfast in the classroom in your district or need more information about alternative breakfast models? Visit the School Nutrition Association’s Breakfast Resource Center. From feasability studies to menu planning and marketing and promotion, you’ll find several ideas to help guide you in making the right choices for the students in your district.

Sample Breakfast (and Lunch) Menus

Milk, cheese and yogurt contribute important nutrients to school meal programs. See how you can include dairy products in your breakfast (and lunch) menus. The menus include nutritional analysis and meet current nutritional guidelines.

Start School with Breakfast: A Guide to Increasing School Breakfast Participation

This publication from the National Education Association Health Information Network and Share Our Strength promotes alternative breakfast service models to educators, school professionals and those associated with the school community. The Guide provides information about the benefits of school breakfast, ways to increase participation, useful tools and success stories.

Breakfast Research Brief Highlights Learning Outcomes

Evidence documents the link between eating breakfast and learning. A research brief from the Food Research and Action Center summarizes data on the link between school-based breakfast programs and educational achievement.

Breakfast: The Most Important Lesson of the Day

S1000DMIHi_jpgNew to Pennsylvania’s School Nutrition Toolbox is an on-line module that addresses the importance of a healthy breakfast and the benefits of providing breakfast at school.  Breakfast: The Most Important Lesson of the Day identifies ways to serve breakfast at school, how to start a new breakfast program or expand an existing one, and how to overcome barriers to serving breakfast at school. While some information is specific to Pennsylvania, the course content provides valuable information for all foodservice directors and managers.

Developed by Project PA, Pennsylvania’s School Nutrition Toolbox contains a variety of on-line training modules related to the operation of Child Nutrition Programs. Project PA is collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Division of Food and Nutrition and PennStateUniversity’s Department of Nutritional Sciences. Visit School Nutrition Toolbox to view the contents of the toolbox.

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got milk? get breakfast! Transporter Bags

If you are expanding breakfast service outside of the cafeteria, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association can help. Our insulated breakfast bags are ideal for transporting meals from the cafeteria to the classroom or other serving locations. Contact your school marketing manager for more information.

Expanding Breakfast Video

The Expanding Breafast video shows how breakfast can increase profits while directly boosting student performance. The accompanying video profiles two breakfast success stories and shows how eating a nutritious breakfast improves test scores, concentration levels and behavior. Order the video through the SNA Emporium.