Can your family benefit from National School Breakfast Week? Absolutely! You can use this opportunity to teach your kids the nutritional value of breakfast, supporting the message they’ll be getting at school this week.
It’s also the perfect time to take advantage of your school’s breakfast program itself – not only for your kids, but check to see; many schools invite parents, family members, and district patrons to join in the meal itself during National School Breakfast Week.
Promote breakfast in your family
- Increase their math and reading scores
- Improve cognitive speed and memory
- Improve vocabulary skills
- Have lower rates of absence
- Have fewer discipline and tardiness problems
- Visit school nurses’ offices less often
- Exhibit decreased behavioral and psychological problems
- Are less likely to be overweight
The Value of School Breakfast Programs
First, let's face it – in today’s rushed world, in which often both parents work outside the home or there is only one parent at home, we don’t always have time to make the good and healthy breakfast we’d like our kids to have. It’s good to know that your public school system likely has a healthy breakfast ready for your child at their school.
Second, some families are too cash-strapped to make a daily breakfast for their children. Fortunately, most states or communities have programs available for low income families that allow for reduced cost, or even free, school breakfasts and school lunches.
According to stats from the Food Research and Action Center, in the 2009–2010 school year nearly 9.5 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program on an average day, indicating a definite need for such programs. To see if you qualify, review Income Guidelines & Reimbursement Rates for the School Breakfast Program on page 9 of this downloadable PDF report.
But are school breakfasts good for you?
Many school nutrition programs are also implementing Farm-to-School programs and serving locally sourced foods in the cafeteria. There are big health advantages to locally grown produce; the closer to the vine that ripening occurs, the more nutritional value each fruit and vegetable contains. Plus, connecting school breakfasts and school lunches to locally grown products supports the local economy.
There are surprising statistics supporting the value of eating breakfast at school in particular.
- Children who eat breakfast at school—closer to class and test-taking time—perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast earlier at home.
- Children who participate in school breakfast eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods than those who do not eat school breakfast or who have breakfast at home.
How you and your kids can benefit from National School Breakfast Week
To get involved in National School Breakfast Week, and boost your children’s participation, here are some additional resources:
- Research on school breakfasts, statistics
- Information on Farm to School programs
- Breakfast Recipes (PDF)
- New Nutrition Standards for School Meals
- The State of School Nutrition Report: Statistics from America's School Cafeterias
- Q&A: Get the Facts about Healthy School Meals