School Breakfast: Essential for Optimum Nutrition

By | March 5, 2020

All Schools to Celebrate “School Breakfast: Out of This World” Campaign, March 2-6. The celebration features special events, activities and menus to raise awareness of how healthy breakfast fuel students for success in the classroom and beyond.

Breakfast Leads to Better Performance

School meals have a significant impact on the nutritional lives of all children, especially low-income students who often eat both breakfast and lunch at school.

Researches show students who eat school breakfast perform better on standardized tests and have improved classroom behavior and attendance.
School breakfast plays a particularly significant role for children of food-insecure families, who depend on school meals as a key source of nutrition.

Research demonstrates that school breakfast consumption: 

  • Boosts students’ academic performance, grades and test scores 
  • Increases concentration, alertness, comprehension and memory 
  • Improves classroom behavior 
  • Reduces absenteeism and tardiness. 

School breakfast participation is also linked to: 

  • A lower body mass index (BMI) 
  • Lower probability of being overweight or obese 
  • Improved diet quality  

The new reimbursable meal requirements emphasize intake of,

  • whole grains, fruits, vegetables
  • low fat dairy products
  • Limited intake of sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and calories.

As a result of these requirements, students are eating more fruits and vegetables and many schools are seeing increases in participation.

Breakfast Meal Requirements

As part of the USDA’s school meal pattern, school nutrition directors are required to serve certain items as part of each reimbursable meal. The required meal components for breakfast include the following:

  • Fruits: One full cup of fruit (or optional vegetables)
  • Grain: Two servings of whole grains (Meat or meat alternates may be used in place of a grain, if one grain serving is already part of the meal)
  • Milk: One cup of milk (either fat-free or 1% white milk or fat-free flavored milk)

These are daily requirements; weekly requirements vary by grade level.

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