As a mom, registered dietitian (RD) and national school nutrition expert, I’ve been a broken-record about breakfast for decades. I can honestly say that I talk about breakfast at school in every one of the many presentations I give every year from coast-to-coast. The reasons are both simple and profound:
- Breakfast helps fuel smart brains by improving students’ ability to focus and pay attention in class. Hungry children cannot listen to their teachers because they are listening to their stomachs. A 2012 Share Our Strength survey reported that 3 out of 5 teachers say they have “children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.”
- Breakfast helps build strong bodies by providing nutrients most American children are currently missing. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified four nutrients of concern – calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber. A nutrient-rich school breakfast helps students grow strong and play hard – and it turns out that physical activity also helps them perform better in the classroom.
Schools across the Midwest are serving up breakfast to thousands of hungry kids every day in school cafeterias, classrooms, and even hallways – where students can pick up a nutrient-rich, grab-n-go breakfast to kick-start their morning. It’s been such a pleasure to work with Midwest Dairy Association’s School Nutrition Institute this year, helping school nutrition professionals learn creative ways to revitalize breakfast so that every student is ready to learn in the classroom.
National School Breakfast Week – March 4 through 8, 2013 – is the perfect time to find out what’s happening with school breakfast in your community. I know you’ll be impressed with the quick, simple, delicious choices – like yogurt parfaits with fruit and granola, whole grain cereal with low-fat milk and fresh fruit, or breakfast burritos with eggs and cheese. It’s so reassuring to know that school breakfast programs across the Midwest are dedicated to building smart brains and strong bodies for school success.
Originally published on Midwest Dairy’s blog, Dairy Makes Sense on Monday, March 4, 2013