Eat. Play. Learn. C is for CLASSROOM

To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.


As they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Many educators and school administrators are asking if a classroom is the right location for a school breakfast. The answer from superintendents, principals, teachers and students across the country is a resounding YES. From reading the research, visiting the schools and talking with stakeholders, these are the top four reasons that I’m a big believer in – and booster for – breakfast in the classroom (BIC), sometimes called breakfast after the bell.

  1. Serving breakfast in the classroom is a proven strategy for increasing breakfast participation. The Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) 2014 School Breakfast Scorecard credits increased numbers of low-income students eating breakfast to strategies like moving it out of the cafeteria into the classroom.
  2. Students like the comfortable atmosphere of their classroom better than a loud cafeteria. Eating in a classroom – with an opt-out option – reduces the stigma of breakfast-for-poor-kids-only. When I talk to students, like those in the photo below, they tell me they like to eat with their friends in a quiet, calm place.
  3. Teachers see positive results when students eat a morning meal in the classroom. The 2013 Too Hungry to Learn report showed that 75% of teachers liked knowing that their students are energized and ready to learn. Seventy-six percent use the time to take attendance, 65% make classroom announcements.
  4. School administrators have also embraced the benefits of serving breakfast in the classroom. In 2013, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA, The Superintendents Association) published an issue of their magazine on Improving Attendance, Health and Behavior: Moving Breakfast Out of the Cafeteria.

Breakfast in the classroom is good for students, educators and administrators. I call that a win-win-win – and clearly this classroom does too.


Eat. Play. Learn. B is for BREAKFAST

To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.


Want the low-down on the benefits of breakfast for school-aged children? Just ask those on the front lines of education – classroom teachers. That is what Share our Strength did in the No Kid Hungry 2012 Teacher’s Report Hunger in Our Schools.

Teachers know the realities of hunger in America’s classrooms – and they know the educational, behavioral and health benefits of breakfast (see graph below). What they may not know is that school breakfast also helps to fill the nutrition gaps experienced by US children and teens. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee Report, American young people, especially teenage girls, have numerous nutrient ‘shortfalls.’ Many are not getting enough vitamin A, C and E, magnesium and phosphorus. Even more are lacking the four nutrients of concern: vitamin D, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber.

The good news it is that a simple school breakfast – fruit, whole grain cereal or bread, and low-fat dairy – helps to fill those nutrient gaps. School breakfast also provides the protein and energy that students need to focus, concentrate and learn until lunch time. Such a simple meal – with so many breakfast benefits!

2012 NKH Teachers Benefits

Why You Should Support School Breakfast … from HuffPo Parents

A school nutrition director recently wrote to me about how difficult it was to start a Breakfast in the Classroom program in her Pennsylvania school district. One parent had gone so far as to write a blog about the fact that her child did not need breakfast because “she ate at home.” As the director said in her message to me, “I’m beginning to lose sight of why I ever wanted to do this in the first place. I’m sure that the majority of the students and parents will appreciate my efforts, it’s just those few who tend to bring one down!”

Thanks to Betsy, I was inspired to write my second article for The Huffington Post Parents page on “Why You Should Support School Breakfast, Even If Your Kid Eats at Home.” Check it out and find out the three things that every parent can do to support breakfast at school, like signing up for Fuel Up to Play 60.

My mantra: Breakfast every day for every day. At home or at school, breakfast changes lives – and t’s the very least we can do for education.

Breakfast Changes Lives

Breakfast Changes Lives