Breakfast helps all students reach their potential. For any number of reasons, not every child can get a healthy breakfast at home. Barriers could include lack of access, time, or not being hungry first thing in the morning. The National School Breakfast Program is available to all students to help even the playing field and give students the option for breakfast once they get to school.
The challenges we faced this year during the COVID-19 pandemic included closed schools and increased unemployment rates. Child food insecurity rates elevated to 1 in 4 children (previously 1 in 6 children). These challenges did not deter our region’s amazing school nutrition professionals from persevering to ensure students had the breakfasts they needed to get through the day and be their best.
Every year (and every day) we celebrate school breakfast for what it does to nourish our kids, but this year it is a bit different because of what we and our families have faced. Please join us in celebrating National School Breakfast Week, March 8-12, because there are so many reasons to love school breakfast.
School Breakfast Benefits Individual Students
Research shows that children who participate in school breakfast are more likely to:
- Perform better in reading and math
- Score higher on standardized tests
- Have improved memory and concentration
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get more of important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, dietary fiber, folate, and protein.
School Breakfast Benefits All Students
Several years ago Dayle Hayes wrote a great article explaining how this happens, urging all parents to support school breakfast even if their kids eat it at home. Her reasons why still ring true, including her point about when all students in a class are well fed and ready to learn, every student can benefit as there are less disruptions and kids have energy to focus. But it’s not just parents who need to support school breakfast. One of our dairy farmers, Alison Conant explained her reasons for supporting school breakfast, recognizing that farmers can do more than just produce the nutritious foods that go into a great school breakfast meal, they can be advocates so that all children have access to a nutritious morning meal. Over the decades, New England Dairy farmers have supported initiatives and grants to promote and increase access to school meals.
School Breakfast Benefits Families and Communities
Participating in school meals brings benefits to families and communities, such as additional funding for schools, supporting school nutrition jobs, and adding money back to your wallet by reducing your grocery bill. Learn more by checking out our recent blog post, School Meals are Important: Here’s How You Can Help.
Resources for Schools
New England Dairy dedicates staff and resources to support schools with their breakfast programs. Check out the School Breakfast page of our website. Here are some of our favorite resources:
- Learn about different school breakfast service models
- Find Local School Breakfast Success Stories
- Check out our school breakfast recipe ideas (filter by breakfast and school meals) to suggest to your school like smoothies and grab and go options
- New England Dairy’s Breakfast Toolkit
- I Eat School Breakfast Stickers
We Have Great Partners in the Region with Fantastic Resources as Well:
- School Nutrition Association Resources for National School Breakfast Week
- CNOP (Child Nutrition Outreach Program) Breakfast Promotion Resources (any school can download, only MA schools can order for free)
If you are a parent or guardian of a student who doesn’t participate in school breakfast, consider giving it a try this week to help celebrate!
If you are a school district looking for help with your breakfast program, contact us to speak with one of our specialists.