It Starts with School Breakfast!

February 25th, 2014 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Written by Beth Bruck-Upton MA, RD
Director of Health & Wellness, Midwest Dairy Council in Nebraska

It’s a typical weekday morning, scrambling to get ready for work, get the kids up and ready for school or childcare, checking bags for homework, permission slips, and then loading the car.  As you are driving down the street, you realize “Oh my, I forgot about breakfast!”  Or if your children are anything like mine, they simply are not hungry first thing when they wake up in the morning.

Has this happened to you?  It’s okay because most schools and daycare centers offer a healthy breakfast each morning for kids.  As a parent, this is reassuring to me because I know that my child can start the day with a healthy breakfast even if I am running out of time to offer it at home or they simply aren’t hungry first thing in the morning.

In order for children to be alert, focused and ready to tackle the day’s academic challenges, they need to eat breakfast. Not just on national testing days, but every day of the year. It’s well-documented that breakfast eaters are healthier and more energetic throughout the day. National studies consistently confirm that breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Eating breakfast:

  • Improves classroom performance, including better test scores and grades.
  • Increases children’s ability to focus and concentrate on school work.
  • Decreases behavior problems, tardiness and visits to the school nurse.
  • Increases attendance rate.
  • Just as important, when students routinely start their day with breakfast, chances are good that it will become a habit that carries into their teenage and adult years.

So, once again, the trick to ensuring all kids eat breakfast is all about timing!    Many school breakfast programs take place prior to the start of the school day in the cafeteria.  When the bus is late or your carpool’s caught in traffic, the opportunity for breakfast might be missed.  The solution is a “Grab N Go” or “Breakfast in the Classroom” opportunity.  Breakfast becomes available to everyone – and it’s served just before or right after the opening bell. This makes it easier for all children to easily participate if they wish.

The approach is simple.  Children eat together in the classroom, usually the homeroom, at the start of the school day. They enjoy nutritionally well-balanced foods like breakfast wraps, yogurt, fruit, and milk served directly in their classroom or grabbed from a cart in the hallway.  Students then eat breakfast while the teacher takes attendance, collects homework or teaches a short lesson plan.

In about 10 minutes, the meal is over and the school day continues.  And so do the benefits of breakfast in the classroom.

Encourage your local school to rethink the model they use for offering breakfast so that all children have access WHEN and WHERE they want it!  For ideas, check out these great tools and resources.

Does your school need help getting started?  These Fuel Up to Play 60 Healthy Eating Plays are designed to help make nutrient-rich breakfast options including low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains available outside the cafeteria. Each link below will bring you to the interactive playbook on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website and includes activation tips and ideas students can use to promote and expand breakfast at their school.

For tasty recipe ideas and more nutrition information, visit  Take the boredom out of breakfast and start enjoying today!

1 Comment »

One Comment on “It Starts with School Breakfast!”

  1. 1 Kiyah said at 12:54 pm on March 6th, 2014:

    Thank you for discussing this important topic with your readers! I just wanted to make you aware of a resource which may be useful to you or your readers as they advocate in their own schools for more inclusive breakfast options. It’s from Bolster Collaborative and is meant for school administrators/teachers/staff to help promote breakfast consumption in their schools. I will also be blogging about my own family’s breakfast every day for a year at 365 Days of Breakfast from if anyone is looking for more ideas about what to serve!

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