Did you know that your local school serves breakfast daily for kids and adults? And did you know that this week (March 2-6) we’re celebrating National School Breakfast Week 2020 (#NSBW20)! This year, National School Breakfast Week is highlights how eating a nutritious breakfast can help students blast off to success in the classroom and beyond with a fun space theme! I’m happy to once again partner with School Nutrition Association and NSBW to share about the National School Breakfast Week program this year.
You will find daily activities, new healthy menu items and fun breakfast programs being implemented in schools – on the TrayTalk.org blog and the Tray Talk Facebook page. Both are great sources for parents and guardians, featuring stories and interviews from school cafeterias and nutrition experts.
What is National School Breakfast Week?
National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) is a weeklong program designed to raise awareness of the National School Breakfast Program (SPB) in school communities across the country.
The NSBW was launched in 1989 by the federal government as a means for all K-12 students in the United States to have access to a nutritious school breakfast. More than 14 million children participate each day!
NSBW is an annual opportunity to help show off school’s breakfast programs in conjunction with a national campaign by increasing participation and education at a school level within a school community. The hope is to share about the benefits of a healthy school breakfast and the professionalism “and dedication” of school’s staff.
And most importantly: School breakfast plays a particularly significant role for children of food-insecure families— and when all students are taking advantage of school breakfast service, that can help to eliminate any stigma associated with participation.
Why focus on breakfast?
Eating SchoolBreakfast fuels learning for all children, and it’s especially helpful when it’s a healthy and well-rounded meal. I’m happy to see so many protein options at breakfast as the main option at our schools. Hopefully gone are the days of a carbohydrate loaded breakfast. You’ll find that you can look up the nutrition information for you school’s breakfast (and lunch) program for most districts on their website. Something to keep in mind, too, I learned at the national conference is that when you see something like pancakes, keep in mind that they often have very different nutritional information than what you mind cook or find at a restaurant. The standards and expectations for school breakfast and lunch programs are very rigorous and high!
This is an example of our school district’s breakfast menu!
I’m also happy to see that the meals are full of color, and a good mixture of food macromolecules. (This is an example breakfast from a neighboring county.)
And yes, you can totally have vegetables with breakfast! Talk about filling. This is definitely an example of a breakfast that will keep most kids full until lunchtime.
From our local school district and National School Breakfast Week
We are excited to be celebrating National School Breakfast Week this year. We’ve made a number of efforts to meet the students where they are during our breakfast service over the last year. Including, adding grab and go breakfast carts at almost every high school and several middle schools. We’ve also started some breakfast in the classroom programs at the Elementary level. We’ve seen our breakfast participation numbers go up by over 550 breakfasts each school day over last year. This means we are serving on average around 19,000 students a healthy breakfast every morning. We are very excited about this increase as one of our key goals is to fuel student success in the classroom. Several research studies have shown a direct link between school breakfast participation and improved academic performance. This is shown to be related to improved attendance, improved behavior and a greater ability to focus on instruction/learning. We launched Smoothies in January as one of our new breakfast items at the Elementary level. These have been an exciting addition as a large number of our students are choosing this option. These are made in-house with low fat yogurt blended with fruit and offered with a whole grain side. We focus our menus each morning on offering not only whole grains, fresh fruit and low-fat milk but also options that include lean proteins like yogurt, eggs and turkey sausage.
Emily Hanlin MBA, RDN, LD, SNS
What an amazing accomplishment to have breakfast go up over 550 a day! I know that my kids have better days when they are properly fueled, especially with lean proteins! And now that they’ve introduced smoothies, I think those numbers will go up even more. (I can’t even comprehend 19,000 meals!)
NSBW 2020 resources are made possible in part by Kellogg’s.