The Indiana School Breakfast Toolkit is your one-stop-shop for information, resources, and tools to support your school breakfast program. This toolkit includes Indiana specific breakfast data, information regarding strategies to boost participation in your program and resources specific to stakeholder groups including School Nutrition Staff, Administrators, and Teachers.

The Power of Breakfast

Millions of kids in America don’t get enough food at home. 1 out of 7 kids struggle with hunger. There are hungry kids in every kind of community, from big cities to rural towns to wealthy suburbs.

Hungry children cannot learn.
Childhood hunger negatively affects health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Students who eat school breakfast have been shown to miss less school, get better grades and are more likely to graduate high school. The Social Impact Analysis conducted by No Kid Hungry and Deloitte connects outcomes from the School Breakfast Program with long-term benefits. 

School breakfast is a balanced breakfast.
Kids who eat school breakfast are more likely to have a better overall diet, eating more fruits, dairy and a variety of foods. Any food items served at breakfast must meet strict dietary guidelines created by the USDA. Menu items rotate to provide variety, but a school breakfast always includes milk, fruit and whole grains. Alternative breakfast service models reach more students than traditional cafeteria breakfast.

Fewer than half of the kids who get a free or reduced-price school lunch, on average, get a free or reduced-price breakfast. Multiple barriers prevent students from getting traditional cafeteria breakfast (before the bell), including buses arriving late at school; stigma that school breakfast is for “poor” kids; students preferring to socialize instead of eat; and the cafeteria not being conveniently located for students. Making breakfast a part of the school day addresses all of those barriers and enables more kids to start the day with a healthy meal. 

A Deloitte study found that school breakfast contributes to improvements in attendance and test scores, which are influential on graduation rates and future economic prospects.

School Breakfast in Indiana

An estimated 273,380¹ children in Indiana live in household that struggle to put enough food on the table.

Hunger is more than just a hungry belly. Kids without consistent access to nutrition have a harder time focusing in school. They are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems and visit the school nurse more often due to stomach aches and headaches. Additionally, kids who struggle with hunger are more susceptible to obesity or being overweight and are sick more often.

This is a problem with a solution. Programs like school breakfast are designed to close the gap between kids who have enough to eat and those who do not. These programs are only successful, however, when they actually reach the kids who need them.

By the Numbers

  • 273,380¹ children in Indiana struggle with hunger.
  • 17.4%¹ of children in Indiana who struggle with hunger
  • 50.9% ² of kids getting a free/reduced-price lunch who are also getting school breakfast
  • Indiana ranks 41st ² in the nation among percentages of kids getting a free/reduced-price lunch also getting school breakfast

Data Sources:

  1. Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap study, Indiana
  2. USDA National Data Bank, Indiana Department of Education Data for Public Sponsors

 

  • In Indiana, school breakfast reaches 51% of students who may need it
  • 196,208 students are missing out on breakfast.
  • Reaching just 70% of these students would bring $27 million in additional federal reimbursements to Indiana schools.

Data Sources: USDA National Data Bank, Indiana Department of Education Data for Public Sponsors

Strategies to Boost Breakfast Participation

What are alternative service models?

Alternative breakfast service models can eliminate many of the barriers keeping kids from eating school breakfast by changing when and where breakfast is served and eaten.

Why alternative service models?

Traditional school breakfast programs often have barriers that prohibit students from eating breakfast before school, such as: 

  • Transportation: The school bus doesn’t arrive in time for kids to get breakfast in the cafeteria.
  • Busy mornings: Regardless of their socioeconomic status, many families are rushed in the morning and don’t always have time for breakfast at home.
  • Stigma: There is often stigma associated with eating breakfast in the cafeteria before school starts; therefore, children avoid it, especially middle- and high-school students, for whom social status and the perceptions of their peers loom large.
  • Lack of resources: For low-income families, there simply may not always be enough food at home for kids to have a healthy breakfast.

Indiana School Breakfast Participation by Model

Participation measured by average daily participation free and reduced-price school breakfast / average daily participation free and reduced-price lunch.

86% Breakfast in the Classroom

Breakfast is offered/served in the classroom and eaten in the classroom.

63% Grab and Go

Breakfast is offered/served from one or more central locations and consumed in a non-specific location.

42% Traditional Cafeteria Breakfast

Breakfast is offered/served and eaten in the cafeteria.

Data Source: Indiana Department of Education Data for Public Sponsors
Data Time Period: September 2018 – May 2019


Breakfast in the Classroom

What is Breakfast in the Classroom?
Offering Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) is a great way to improve the school environment and ensure all children can receive a nutritious breakfast. BIC is an alternative breakfast model where breakfast is delivered to the classroom in insulated bags and students collect their meal on the way into the classroom. Breakfast is eaten during the first few minutes of class while teachers take attendance and begin the day’s lesson. On average, school reach 88% breakfast participation with this model.

How Does it Work?

    1. Child nutrition staff package nutritious breakfast items for each classroom in insulated food bags and deliver them to the classrooms.
    2. As students enter the classroom, they pick up a breakfast and eat their desks or a designated area in the classroom.
    3. While students are eating breakfast, the teacher will take attendance or use the time as instructional time in a variety of ways.
    4. When finished eating, students place their trash in a bag or rolling trash bin and wipe down their desk.
    5. At the end of breakfast, the insulated food bags and trash are left outside of the classroom or brought to a central location for pickup by nutrition and/or custodial staff.

Tips

Create a plan!

Creating a plan with school stakeholders in the school and/or district can help with implementing the program. The team may include teachers, principals, food service staff, wellness coordinators and custodians. Engaging stakeholders provides an opportunity to identify needs and solidify a morning routine based on the classroom setup.

Simplify clean up by…

  • Placing large trash cans in the hallway for breakfast trash
  • Providing classrooms with wipes for desks
  • Separate trash bags for breakfast
  • Identify student helpers to remove breakfast trash from the classroom.

Additional Resources:


Grab and Go

What is Grab N’ Go?

With Grab & Go models, students pick up convenient pre-packaged breakfasts from mobile carts in high traffic areas, such as hallways, entryways or cafeterias. Students can eat in the classroom or elsewhere on school grounds before and after the bell has rung. On average, school that implement this model reach 59% breakfast participation

How Does it Work?

With Grab & Go models, students pick up convenient pre-packaged breakfasts from mobile carts in high traffic areas, such as hallways, entryways or cafeterias. Students can eat in the classroom or elsewhere on school grounds before and after the bell has rung. On average, school that implement this model reach 63% breakfast participation

Tips

Allow students to grab and go to the classroom. 

No Kid Hungry pilot schools that allowed students to take their breakfast to the classroom saw participation rates averaging 65%, compared to 44% in schools offering Grab and Go that could not be consumed in class.

Location matters. 

Grab and Go carts or kiosks should be placed in well- trafficked, accessible areas of the school. There is no single place to station Grab and Go breakfasts, and it will vary across schools. The key is to allow enough flexibility to move the location if needed.

Serve breakfast after the bell. 

It is important that students are able to consume breakfast after the official start of the school day, in their classrooms and other convenient locations. Schools that allow breakfasts to be eaten in 1st period, or as “Second Chance Breakfast” between 1st and 2nd periods experience substantially higher participation rates than schools that serve Grab and Go only before the bell.

Additional Resources:


Second Chance

What is Second Chance Breakfast?

Students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often between first and second period or midway between breakfast and lunch. Schools can serve breakfast using a Grab and Go model, or they can open the cafeteria to serve breakfast during the break.

Second Chance Breakfast can be effective for middle or high school students who may not be hungry first thing in the morning or prefer to socialize with friends. Schools reach 58% breakfast participation on average with this model.

Additional Resources:

What is Universal Breakfast?

Universal breakfast is when breakfast is served to all students at no cost. Schools continue to claim federal reimbursements in the correct category for any student participating in the breakfast program.

Why Universal Breakfast?

The most common benefits of offering universal free meals are:

  • Reduced or eliminated stigma as the financial barrier of paying for school meals is eliminated
  • Less paperwork for school nutrition staff
  • More streamlined meal service operations
  • Less unpaid meal debt

What options exist to help me offer breakfast to all students at no cost?

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

Community eligibility is the newest federal option for serving free meals to all students and reimbursements are based on the percentage of students directly certified for free school meals. Schools using community eligibility must serve breakfast and lunch free of charge to all students and no longer collect school meal applications.

Provision 2

This longstanding federal option is designed to reduce paperwork and simplify the logistics of operating school meals programs. Schools can use Provision 2 to serve free meals for breakfast, lunch, or both, and collect applications once every four years at most. Provision 2 schools serve meals at no charge and use the significant administrative savings to offset the cost of providing free meals to all students.

Nonpricing

No fees are collected from students, while schools continue to receive federal reimbursements for the meals served under the three-tiered (free, reduced price, and paid) system. Schools must continue to collect school meal applications each year and count and claim meals as free, reduced-price, or paid.

Additional Resources:

Generate Excitement & Increase Participation

Marketing is an essential component to increasing school breakfast participation. Getting the word out about school breakfast helps ensure more kids start the day with the fuel they need to learn, grow & thrive.

Make the most of your school breakfast program using a variety of these strategies:

  • Contests & Challenges
  • Posters, Flyers & Newsletters
  • Social Media & Websites
  • Daily Announcements
  • Nudges
  • Taste Tests
  • Guest Servers & Special Guests

Additional Resources:

Calendar

Consider using these opportunities to highlight the importance of school breakfast! Set a goal to plan at least 3 breakfast engagements per year.

Tips

  • Obtain stakeholder buy-in early
  • Plan ahead – shoot to begin locking down details at least 2 months out
  • Build a marketing plan
  • Budget for giveaways like stickers, stress balls, water bottles and sunglasses – plan to use 2-5% of your budget for this.
  • Identify and reach out to potential donor

Resources for Stakeholders

You and Breakfast After the Bell 

School Nutrition Staff play an essential role in the lives of students in their district. 

Many students depend on school meals multiple times a day – including that first, critical meal. School nutrition staff greet students each day with healthy, delicious food. This food fills students’ bellies and helps them focus on what is important – learning and having fun with their friends – not hunger. As a School Nutrition Director, you play a unique and important role in ensuring students can access this food without barriers or complications.

Many students do not participate in school breakfast because of factors beyond their control – such as bus schedules – or because of the stigma associated with eating in the cafeteria. Breakfast After the Bell (BAB) is a serving model that makes breakfast a part of the school day. By implementing a BAB program in your district, you are promoting a model that readily enables all students to participate in breakfast. You are supporting students eating together in their classrooms as a community. You are helping remove stigma from the breakfast program. You are supporting teachers and principals by ensuring that students get their basic needs met and are able to learn more effectively. Your backing of BAB is a win for students and schools.

The positive impacts of BAB do not end there. BAB models are the most effective way to boost breakfast participation. By implementing a BAB program in your district, you are ensuring increased revenue and a stronger nutrition department. Your backing of BAB is a win for the district.

This toolkit is here to provide you with everything you need to get a successful BAB program up and running in your district.


Key Points for School Nutrition Staff

  • Alternative breakfast service models reach more students than traditional cafeteria breakfast. Fewer than half of the kids who get a free or reduced-price school lunch, on average, get a free or reduced-price breakfast.

    Multiple barriers prevent students from getting traditional cafeteria breakfast (before the bell), including buses arriving late at school; stigma that school breakfast is for “poor” kids; students preferring to socialize instead of eat; and the cafeteria not being conveniently located for students. 

    Making breakfast a part of the school day addresses all of those barriers and enables more kids to start the day with a healthy meal.
  • Alternative breakfast service models can increase participation and revenue. The more students that participate in the school breakfast program, the more federal reimbursement schools receive. Alternative breakfast service models have been shown to increase student participation in the school breakfast program.

    Feed more kids, bring in more money. These additional funds can be used to offset other school nutrition program costs.

Resources for School Nutrition Staff

Choosing the Right Breakfast Model: Learn about the different Breakfast After the Bell models and determine which models suit your community best. 

Pre-Implementation Checklist: Preparing for implementation can make the transition from traditional cafeteria breakfast to Breakfast After the Bell smoother and increase the chances of maintaining a successful breakfast program. Allowing for adaptations during early implementation can help improve your program along the way. This resource provides a detailed checklist that schools can use to help prepare for Breakfast After the Bell implementation. 

Breakfast After the Bell Rollout Timelines: The Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab and Go to the Classroom Rollout Timelines outline action steps school stakeholders can take to help prepare for the launch of Breakfast After the Bell. The rollout timelines span both long-term action steps and short-term action steps — starting at 8 weeks before implementation and counting down each week until launch. 

Menu Planning: There are many things to consider when building a Breakfast After the Bell menu. Food must meet USDA guidelines and be appealing to kids. Food must also be easily transportable and easy to consume in the classroom. These sample menus and menu planning tools can help you build your menu and succeed in the kitchen as well as with kids. 

Equipment Tips: Determining the equipment needs of your Breakfast After the Bell program can be a daunting process. Let this resource help guide you in choosing what equipment would be useful for whichever Breakfast After the Bell model you choose.

Financial Management: The financial impact of expanding school breakfast can be calculated so you have an idea of how it will affect the budget. Here are multiple resources that schools can use to determine how expanding school breakfast will affect the revenue and overall operation of breakfast, and analyze variable costs versus fixed costs. 

Participation Tips And Student Surveys: High breakfast participation is the result of many different aspects of the breakfast program running smoothly, from the logistics of the program to gaining buy-in from the student body. These resources showcase tips and tactics schools can use to increase breakfast participation. 

Gaining Buy-in from District Stakeholders: For Breakfast After the Bell to be successful, multiple district and school stakeholders need to be on board. Use these resources to engage stakeholders and gain buy-in.

Grant Opportunity Information: These grant opportunities can help schools purchase equipment and other classroom preparation items to start-up their Breakfast After the Bell program. 

Get the Word Out to Your Staff and Community: Using these communication materials like banners, flyers, posters and more will help you build a network of champions in your school and community.

Administrators: You and Breakfast After the Bell 

Administrators are vital to ensuring students get what they need to succeed.

Many students struggle with academics because they don’t get their basic needs met, such as enough food to eat, no matter what economic background they come from. In schools where breakfast is offered in the cafeteria before the school day begins, students often face barriers to eating school breakfast including parents and busses dropping students off too late, students not knowing about school breakfast, students choosing to socialize with friends, or stigma around school breakfast. 

This is where principals and superintendents can shine! Breakfast After the Bell (BAB) is a breakfast serving model that meets the needs of the students by providing a basic level of support that every person needs: food. Breakfast After the Bell models like Grab and Go to the Classroom, Breakfast In the Classroom, and Second Chance Breakfast, provide more kids with the healthy food they need to learn and thrive. As a result, students demonstrate improved academic outcomes and attendance, and decreased school nurse visits and behavioral disruptions. [Deloitte & No Kid Hungry, 2015]

By supporting BAB, you are directly supporting the health and well-being of all students, you are advocating for teachers and school nurses, as hunger contributes to loss of instructional time and more nurse visits, and you are aiding parents, because mornings at home can feel rushed and time for breakfast can easily get pushed aside.

The National School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federal school nutrition program, just like school lunch. Schools that participate in SBP must adhere to nutrition guidelines supported by science and provided by USDA. Even though food items offered to students at school sometimes look the same as breakfast foods found in grocery stores, convenience stores or fast food restaurants, school breakfast items often include whole grains and less sugar, sodium, fat, and calories. School breakfast is made affordable for all students through subsidies and reimbursements provided by the federal government. School breakfast expenses are not part of the school system’s education budget. Learn more about how school meals reach kids and the finances involved with How School Meals Reach Kids.

This toolkit is here to provide you with everything you need to get a successful Breakfast After the Bell program up and running.


Key Points for Administrators

  • Breakfast After the Bell can help meet your academic goals. School officials report that they see better attendance, less tardiness and fewer behavioral problems when all kids eat breakfast. This means better test scores and higher graduation rates. Breakfast After the Bell gives kids the fuel they need to learn and grow. Learn more about the specifics of how breakfast affects student outcome.
  • Breakfast After the Bell can increase participation and revenue. The more students that participate in the school breakfast program, the more federal reimbursement schools receive. Breakfast After the Bell has been shown to increase student participation in the school breakfast program. Feed more kids, bring in more money. These additional funds can be used to offset other school nutrition program costs.
  • Providing kids with breakfast improves test scores, reduces behavioral issues, and creates calmer classrooms. When kids eat breakfast they perform better on tests, exhibit fewer behavior problems, and visit the school nurse less often. Breakfast After the Bell gives more kids a chance to reap the benefits of breakfast and start the school day ready to learn.
  • Choose the Breakfast After the Bell model that best fits your school’s needs. The most effective models to increase breakfast participation are Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab N’ Go to the Classroom, and Second Chance Breakfast. Many schools operate a hybrid model that combines certain elements of these models.

Resources for Administrators

Breakfast After the Bell 101 Videos: Geared towards teachers and principals, these short videos outline how Breakfast After the Bell benefits students and classrooms, and how Breakfast After the Bell can be a seamless part of the instructional day in four easy steps

School Breakfast – Healthier Than You Think: School breakfast often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, when in reality the food options served at breakfast must adhere to strict nutritional guidelines and are often much healthier than store-bought breakfast.

Innovative Breakfast Delivery Options:  Breakfast After the Bell models often incorporate elements of multiple models and can look different in each school; however, three models in particular are the most effective at increasing breakfast participation. Learn about each Breakfast After the Bell Model and choose which model best suits your school’s needs.

Breakfast in the Classroom Myths: This easy-to-read document addresses common myths and about Breakfast in the Classroom and provides information to dispel concerns you or your staff may have.

Implementation Tools: This collection of tools includes a Pre-implementation Checklist, Breakfast After the Bell Rollout Timelines and a Breakfast in the Classroom Activity Guide. Each tool is unique, but they all complement each other nicely to create an extensive set of implementation tools that can guide multiple school stakeholders on how to create a successful Breakfast After the Bell launch.

How School Meals Reach Students: This resource traces the path of the funding that supports school breakfast and lunch from Congress to cafeteria. It also answers common questions that educators have about how the programs work.

Participation Tips And Student Surveys: High breakfast participation is the result of many different aspects of the breakfast program running smoothly, from the logistics of the program, to gaining buy-in from the student body. These resources highlight how to increase breakfast participation. 

Get the Word Out in your School and Community: Using these communication materials like backpack flyers, posters, sample social media language, and more will help you build a network of champions in your school and community.

Teachers: You and Breakfast After the Bell 

Educators know that students that are hungry for food cannot be hungry for knowledge. 

Many students across the country miss a morning meal at school because of when and how it is served. In schools where breakfast is offered in the cafeteria before the school day begins, students often face barriers to eating school breakfast including barriers such as parents and busses dropping students off too late, students not knowing about school breakfast, students choosing to socialize with friends, or stigma around school breakfast.

There is a sustainable solution. Schools that incorporate breakfast into the school day with Breakfast After the Bell models like Grab and Go to the Classroom, Breakfast In the Classroom, and Second Chance Breakfast, are able to provide more kids with the healthy food they need to learn. As a result, students demonstrate improved academic outcomes and attendance and decreased school nurse visits and behavioral disruptions. [Deloitte & No Kid Hungry, 2015]

When all students have the opportunity to access a nutritious meal in school, schools remove one of the obstacles to students’ learning—hunger. Providing access to school breakfast is providing access to an educational resource crucial to students’ reaching their full potential. Furthermore, teachers regularly note that when students start their day by eating in the classroom with their peers, a true community begins to form. This community fosters an environment for teaching and practicing social-emotional skills. 

The National School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federal school nutrition program, just like school lunch.  Schools that participate in SBP must adhere to nutrition guidelines supported by science and provided by USDA. Even though food items offered to students at school sometimes look the same as breakfast foods found in grocery stores, convenience stores or fast-food restaurants, school breakfast items often include whole grains and less sugar, sodium, fat, and calories.

School breakfast is made affordable for all students through subsidies and reimbursements provided by the federal government. School breakfast expenses are not part of the school system’s education budget. Learn more about how school meals reach kids and the finances involved with How School Meals Reach Kids.

This toolkit is here to provide you with everything you need to get a successful Breakfast After the Bell program up and running.


Key Points for Teachers

  • School breakfast leads to calmer classrooms.
    Universal breakfast in the classroom significantly improves students’ behavior, particularly students’ level of respect and preparedness for class, which means teachers can spend more time teaching and less time disciplining students.

  • Breakfast After the Bell does not take away from instructional time. Breakfast only takes 10-15 minutes for students to eat. When breakfast is served in the classroom, many teachers use the time to take attendance, collect homework, or make announcements. This time can also be a valuable component of social-emotional learning.
     
  • Breakfast cleanup is quick and easy. School administrators, custodial staff and teachers work together to create a cleanup plan that is best for your classroom and the school. The plan may include placing extra trash bins in hallways and in classrooms so that students can quickly and responsibly dispose of their trash.
     
  • School breakfast is healthier than you may think. Schools participating in the National School Breakfast Program must adhere to nutrition guidelines provided by the USDA. Even though breakfast items provided to students at school sometimes look like the same breakfast items found in stores, school breakfast items often have more whole grains and less sugar, sodium, fat and calories.

Resources for Teachers

Breakfast After the Bell 101 Videos: Geared towards teachers and principals, these short videos outline how Breakfast After the Bell benefits students and classrooms and can be a seamless part of the instructional day in four easy steps. 

Breakfast in the Classroom Myths: This easy-to-read document addresses common myths and concerns about Breakfast in the Classroom, and provides facts and testimony from teachers who have already implemented.

School Breakfast – Healthier Than You Think: This resource provides teachers with helpful nutritional information about school breakfast. School Breakfast often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, when in reality the food options served at breakfast must adhere to strict nutritional guidelines and are often much healthier than store-bought breakfast.

How School Meals Reach Students: This resource traces the path of the funding that supports school breakfast and lunch from Congress to the cafeteria. It also answers common questions that educators have about how the programs work.

Classroom Activity Guide: The New York City Department of Education’s guide for teachers contains ideas for classroom activities, rules, structure and weekly schedules that you can adapt to your own school learning environment and state guidelines. 

Classroom Set Up and Clean Up: This resource outlines how classrooms can be affected by Breakfast After the Bell, and shares best practices on how to create a plan for classroom set-up and clean up where breakfast is served or eaten. 

Breakfast After the Bell Rollout Timelines: These Rollout Timelines outline action steps school stakeholders can take to help prepare for the launch of Breakfast After the Bell. The rollout timelines span both long-term action steps and short-term action steps — starting at 8 weeks before implementation and counting down each week until launch.