What’s all the fuss about breakfast? Well, it gets a week long celebration so it must be important!
What Is National School Breakfast Week?
March 7 kicks off National School Breakfast Week (NSBW), a week-long celebration of the nation’s School Breakfast Program (SBP). Sponsored by the School Nutrition Association (SNA), NSBW’s goal is for schools to actively promote their breakfast program, while encouraging and increasing student participation.
At Summit Academy, every student is encouraged to start the day with a full stomach. Breakfast is offered to everyone upon entering the school building each day and a variety of items are served in compliance with state regulations including:
Administrators have reported that Summit elementary schools are at a 90% participation in the program, while middle schools are at 75% participation and high schools are at 50% participation.
Why Is School Breakfast Important?
School breakfast is proven to be good for children’s bodies and minds, as research has shown that children who eat breakfast have improved memory, problem-solving skills, verbal fluency, and creative abilities.
“If a student comes to school and is hungry, they are not thinking about learning or paying attention, they are thinking about filling their stomachs. Breakfast gives the student energy for the morning and helps to keep them alert in the classroom,” says Katherine Hrbolich, Administrator of Federal Programs for Summit Academy.
The School Breakfast Program started in 1966 as a two-year pilot program for what was deemed “nutritionally needy children.” During the first year, schools served 80,000 students breakfast.
Permanently established in 1975, the School Breakfast Program is now a federally funded, locally delivered nutrition program in all schools, similar to the National School Lunch Program. More than 11 million students now participate in the program, which reports expanded numbers each year.
Click here to learn more about National School Breakfast Week!
Join the Celebration!
Below are resources for teachers, parents, and school administrators to join the National Breakfast Week festivities:
- Activity Sheets – Download the NSBW Activity Sheets and encourage students to wake up their brains with these fun puzzles and activities.
- Parent/Student Backpack Brochure – The NSBW Backpack Brochure contains key information about healthy school breakfasts for parents and students, too. Download the brochure now and print it at your school. A Spanish version is also available for download!
- Student Art Contest – Students are asked to take part in a nationwide art contest where they will draw an ad for school breakfast, using a combination of pictures and words. Three national winners will receive special prize packs and their ads will be published on the SNA website. Deadline for submissions is March 31. Click here for official rules and entry forms.
- Connect to Social Media – Share photos of your school breakfast program to Summit Academy and the School Nutrition Association’s social media sites using the hashtags #NSBW16 and #SchoolBreakfast
- Get Featured – After your NSBW celebration is complete, send your stories and best photos to the School Nutrition Association. You could be featured in School Nutrition magazine!
Why Eat Breakfast?
Breakfast really is the most important meal for students as it provides the necessary fuel to start a day of learning and achievement. Research has shown that children who eat breakfast have:
1. Higher Academic Scores
- Students who eat breakfast earn, on average, a letter grade higher in math than kids who don’t
- Studies have also shown eating breakfast results in higher standardized test scores
2. Improved Behavior
- Providing breakfast to students at school improves their concentration, alertness, comprehension, memory, and learning
- Hungry children are more likely to have discipline problems and difficulty getting along with their peers
3. Reduced Tardiness and Absenteeism
- Kids who participate in the SBP are tardy and/or absent from school less often
- Research has revealed that children who eat breakfast visit the nurse’s office less often
4. Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits
- Children who participate in SBP are more likely to consume fruit and milk at breakfast
- Eating breakfast positively impacts weight management as there is less risk of becoming overweight and/or obese for children who eat breakfast
School Breakfast by the Numbers
- According to data from the Child Nutrition Foundation, on any given day, 51% of kids go to school without breakfast
- SBP provides a nutritious breakfast to more than 11.7 million children each school day
- Over 80,000 schools and institutions serve school breakfast every day, compared to the more than 100,000 that offer lunch
- Total federal funding for school breakfast and lunch programs totaled $16.3 billion in 2014, making them one of the largest federal funding streams to schools
- School breakfast provides 25% of the recommended daily allowance of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and calories for students, as well as meeting federal nutrition guidelines based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- On average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year.
Sources: Atlas.NewAmerica.org, Child Nutrition Foundation, Food Research and Action Center, NoKidHungry.org, School Nutrition Association