School Breakfast

Breakfast is Important

Eating breakfast at school helps children improve their classroom performance. Studies show that academic achievement among students who eat school breakfast tends to improve, especially in vocabulary, math, and on standardized tests.

Eating breakfast can improve children’s diets and may reduce their risk of obesity. Studies show that children who regularly eat breakfast have a better quality of nutrient intake and are less likely to be overweight or obese. In fact, regularly eating breakfast may serve as a safeguard against childhood obesity.

Students who eat breakfast at school also have better attendance and fewer disciplinary referrals.

What is the breakfast problem?

Traditional School Breakfast Programs may not meet all students’ needs.

In the traditional school breakfast delivery model, students receive breakfast from their school cafeteria before school begins.

Only 60% of Virginia kids who depend on school lunch start their days with school breakfast.

What are some of the reasons for this low breakfast participation?

  • There may be a social stigma associated with going to the cafeteria before school to eat.
  • Bus schedules may not allow enough time for children to eat once they arrive at school.
  • Sometimes, the location of the cafeteria can negatively impact participation; if students are not able to make it to the cafeteria and to their first period in time, they often will not eat.
  • Many children, especially those in high school, simply are not hungry first thing in the morning but will want food shortly after class begins.

What is the solution?

Alternative Breakfast Models

Alternative Breakfast Programs feed more students.

By increasing access to breakfast through alternative breakfast models, schools can reach more free/reduced-eligible students who are vulnerable to food insecurity, and consequently improve their chances at leading healthier lives, achieving higher academic performance, and avoiding food insecurity in adulthood.

There are two major variables when it comes to how school breakfast is delivered:

– where kids eat

– when kids eat

Under the ‘traditional’ breakfast service model, students eat breakfast in the cafeteria before school begins. This is a very finite and limited opportunity that many students miss. The models below increase student access to breakfast:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom: An alternative model where breakfast is eaten in the classroom after the official start of the school day. Watch Breakfast in the Classroom in action below.
  • Grab and Go: An alternative breakfast model where students pick up bagged meals from the cafeteria or mobile service carts equipped with a computer or point of service machine placed at the school entrance or another high-traffic area and eat in their classroom.
  • Second Chance Breakfast: Second chance breakfast is an alternative breakfast model where students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, usually right after first period.

“The result of this Breakfast in the Classroom has allowed for no behavioral issues upon arrival to class. Students are concentrating during instructional time; they are attentivefocused, and engaged in their lessons.”

Sonya Shaw, Principal, Miles Jones Elementary, Richmond City Public Schools

View No Kid Hungry Virginia’s School Breakfast Resources