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Breakfast For Everyone — First Meal Matters

The morning is a great time to fuel up for success and start the day right. In this Play, you will select from three possible options for getting more students to eat breakfast at school. After considering Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab-and-Go Breakfast and Breakfast after First Period (Second Chance Breakfast), you will work with your school nutrition professionals to choose the program that works best for your school to help make a nutritious breakfast part of every student’s day!

Here's a quickstart guide to help you get started!

Why This Play?

What to Do

What to Do

  • There are three main steps to this Play. Read about what to do, and then review Who Can Help? and Build Interest to get more information and help.

     

    note  Note: In any Play where you plan to work with school meals or à la carte offerings, you must involve the school nutrition director and other professionals! If that’s not you, be sure to contact that team before you get started.

     

    Step 1: Pick a program and get organized.

     

    Pick a program. Will you try Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab-and-Go Breakfast or Breakfast after First Period (Second Chance Breakfast)? Each Play is different and fun, and can help increase breakfast participation and consumption. For middle school and high school, Grab-and-Go or Breakfast after First Period may work best. For elementary school, we recommend Breakfast in the Classroom. To help you decide which option will work best for your school, here is a chart followed by the first things you’ll need to do to get organized:

     

    FRAC Breakfast Plays

    Click to view
    credit: Food Research and Action Center

     

    Grab-and-Go or Breakfast after First Period (Second Chance Breakfast)

     

    • Pick a location. The best places are spots where students have frequent and easy access — where they get together to talk, eat and start the day off right.

       

    • Choose a station design that really stands out.

       

      • Maybe it’s a table with cool signs.

         

      • Students can work with each other and some adult volunteers to build a kiosk or a cart on wheels.

         

        Does your menu plan include food that needs to be refrigerated? If so, factor that into your design.

     

    Kiosk

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Click to see a catalog of equipment and consider applying for Fuel Up to Play 60 funds if you implement this Play!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • Consider how you will pack meals.

       

      • You can prepackage meals in see-through containers so students know what they’re getting or give students a bag and let them pick from choices on the station.

         

      • Try using fun, school-mascot or team-themed containers to boost interest.

         

        note Note: Be sure if students are handling food that your school nutrition personnel are ensuring all food-safety measures are followed carefully.

         

    • If students are offered choices, be sure to work with your school nutrition professionals to ensure students are choosing foods that create a reimbursable meal.

     

    Breakfast in the Classroom

     

    The key to making this program a success is to plan for a streamlined process and get teacher buy-in. This video will show you examples of both Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab-and-Go:

     

    everybody eats

    click to view
    Credit: California Food Policy Advocates

     

    • Brainstorm food transport options.

       

      • Can you use wagons like they show in the video? Some schools use laundry baskets.

         

      • One thing that’s essential is to get students to help! Rotate student leaders from day to day or week to week so everyone gets involved.

         

    • Plan for how you will keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

     

    • Consider applying for funds to purchase insulated bags.

       

    • Maybe a local grocery or sporting goods store will help.

       

      note  Note: It is critical for food safety to keep food at the proper temperature. Be sure school nutrition professionals are monitoring this.

     

    Step 2: Plan your menu.

     

    Work with your school nutrition professionals to choose the best menu options. Run some morning taste tests to introduce new ideas. For example, see how these middle schoolers in North Carolina helped with taste testing some breakfast pizza options (suggested budget of $0.60 per student, not covered by Fuel Up to Play 60 Funds).

     

    recipes

     

    The foods you select should be popular as well as nutritious. For example, nutritious breakfast bars may be a good option, but some breakfast bars are more nutritious than others. Ask the school nutrition manager for tips on what to look for in the ingredients list to help you make the best choice. Be sure to focus on menu planning that provides reimbursable meals!

     

    Here are some great resources from National Dairy Council

     

    Think green.

     

    • Use recyclable or reusable materials.

       

    • Encourage students to finish what they choose for breakfast to help them get the nutrition from the milk, whole grains, fruits and so on — and to avoid food waste.

       

      note  Note: Don’t forget to visit the Funding and Outfitting Your Play section for information and ideas on what you might need to help with this Play.

       

    • Step 3: Make it happen — and promote it!

      • Set up a series of pilot days and invite different classes or student groups to participate. Get feedback from students and teachers and use that to refine your process.

         

        • Pay attention to what students eat or don’t eat — and why.

           

        • Focus on food waste to be sure that the options you are offering are being eaten instead of thrown away.

           

      • Work with teachers to sign up student volunteers to help staff the grab-and-go station or transport foods to the classroom. Start small — maybe once or twice a week — and build on your successes until you are offering your breakfast program every day to all students!

         

        note  Note: If you haven’t already, check to see if your school qualifies for the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to ALL students rather than just those who fill out school meal applications. It’s working in thousands of schools across the country!

         

      Make your program known! Have students implement a breakfast marketing program like this one that was started by a school in Michigan.

     

    michigan team nutrition

    click to view
    Credit: Michigan Team Nutrition

     

    They can also try these marketing ideas from the USDA. And, the School Nutrition Association has a National School Breakfast Week Toolkit (see pp. 10–14) that has marketing and promotion ideas you can use at any time of year to promote your breakfast program.

Who Can Help?

Who Can Help?

  • You are not in this alone. There are many people who can help make this Play a success. For this Play, you will definitely need the help of your school nutrition professionals. Meet with them first to talk about the three different breakfast ideas and which one seems the most “doable” in your school. Here’s a list of who can help with this Play and some specific ways they can do that.

     

    Who Can Help

    What They Can Do

    School Nutrition Professionals

    • Help with strategy and nutritious food selection
    • Prepare breakfast foods and supervise volunteers
    • Provide guidance to students on choosing foods that create a reimbursable meal

    Principal

    • Approve plan and location/breakfast type chosen
    • Engage with teachers and custodians to get their support
    • Encourage student participation

    Teachers

    • Support breakfast option and encourage participation

    Custodians

    • Help create an efficient clean-up system for whichever program you choose

    Students

    • Assist with breakfast preparation and distribution
    • Encourage peers to participate

    Families

    • Encourage student participation

    Community Businesses

    • Donate materials and/or funds for a breakfast delivery system (kiosks or carts, insulated bags, wagons, etc., depending on breakfast choice)

    School Transportation Personnel

    • Encourage students to participate as they get off the bus

     

    As with any game that’s worth playing and winning, you are bound to run into challenges. That's why getting help from others is so important. You’ll be more likely to achieve your goals when everyone works together.

     

    Share this video to help explain how helpful it can be for all students to eat a nutritious school breakfast:

     

    Breakfast Play_Huddle Image

    Click to view
     Credit: Connecticut Breakfast Expansion
    Team and Connecticut Dairy

Build Interest

Build Interest

  • To help students start thinking about school breakfast and to help you get started with shorter activities, try some of these ideas:

     

    • If you have or can get a salad bar setup, use it to plan a breakfast bar so students can sample different food options and rate them to see which might be added to the regular menu. This will help get the whole school excited about the menu because all the students can help choose it.

       

      • Work with your school nutrition director to see how protein options can be included on the breakfast bar, like milk, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and cheese.

         

      • You may be able to get grocery stores in your community involved by asking them to donate food samples. Be sure to invite your donors to come try out the breakfast bar, too!

         

      • If you don’t have a salad bar setup, use some other part of the cafeteria meals line and consider applying for funds to get one!

     

    Consider polling students about what they would grab on the go or eat in the classroom, or simply test a few ideas to see what works.

     

    Create posters highlighting your program and the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast.

     

    Send information home to parents or attend a PTA/PTO meeting to explain your breakfast program. Remember to mention the cost, location, benefits and menu options so parents and family members can spread the word when they go home.

Share Your Results

Share Your Results

  • Share highlights and data from your breakfast program:

     

    • Have students create posters showcasing your breakfast program and display them in high-traffic areas, such as hallways, cafeterias and classrooms.

       

    • Use this Benefits of Breakfast resource to promote your school breakfast program during the morning announcements and on Twitter.

       

    • Get the word out on your school’s website or blog, in your school newsletter or student newspaper, and on social media!

       

    • Share student stories, videos and pics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tagging FUTP 60 (FB: @FuelUpToPlay60; TW and IG: @FUTP60) and using #FuelGreatness!

       

     

    Scrimmage Time

     

    Set up some friendly competitions between classes, teachers, grades or even subject areas (e.g., the math department vs. foreign languages):

     

    • See which group can get the highest level of participation in the first month.

       

    • Keep track over the course of the school year and give “Breakfast Heroes” awards to the class or group that is most consistent about eating a nutritious breakfast!

       

    • Share the results of your competitions in the same ways you publicize the program itself.

       

     

    Think long term. In your discussions with community members and parent groups, make a list of equipment and resources that need to be maintained or replaced from year to year. Work to get the PTA or PTO to add a budget line item that helps fund those equipment needs each year.

Community

Community

  • This section features ideas on ways to involve everyone in your school and community. Think about ideas for differentiating between older and younger students and ways to bring in the family connection.

     

    Build student leadership opportunities. As much as possible, have students do the planning and run your programs.

     

    For Older Students

     

    • Look into the possibility of students earning service learning hours.

       

    • Consider starting a “breakfast entrepreneurs’ club” so students can be empowered to build a business model for their school’s alternative breakfast service.

     

    For All Students

     

    • Have student volunteers work with your school nutrition professionals to host a one-time breakfast event in the school cafeteria. Check out this tip sheet and video that can help you make the connection between students and the nutrition team.

       

      • Invite students, parents and community members to gather suggestions for alternative breakfast.

         

      • Plan a video presentation (perhaps using videos in this Play) to get people engaged and show them how alternative breakfast service can work.

         

    • Have students ask the school administrator to help them find out if other schools in your district are running similar school breakfast programs. If so, have them plan to visit and talk to the nutrition director at that school (or schools) to learn about what works and what challenges they have had — and how they overcame those challenges.

     

    Put students in the driver’s seat as much as possible. They’ll learn valuable life lessons on how to plan and implement programs, and they’ll feel great about helping their school!

     

    For Everyone

     

    Everyone can:

     

    • Provide input on breakfast ideas and preferences.

       

    • Choose grab-and-go locations or help create them.

       

    • Talk to local businesses and parents to get their help with food, wagons or other donations.

       

    • Provide input on various breakfast bar options.

       

    • Create posters highlighting the importance of a nutritious breakfast.

       

    • Volunteer once a week to help keep the breakfast bar stocked.

       

    • Work with new volunteers to make sure this Play is repeated from year to year. Breakfast for all can help build community and help students succeed.

       

     

    Help Build the Whole Fuel Up to Play 60 Community

     

    Encourage students to log on to their Dashboard and report activity to achieve Level Three (30,000 Points) and be named a Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador! Having ambassadors at your school might help get more students involved!

     

    Homefield Advantage: Check out this resource and share it with parents and caretakers so they can see what they can do to help at home and at school.

Why This Play?

Warm Up Activity Idea!

Not quite ready for the full Play?

Try this.

breakfast warm up

Start a grab-and-go breakfast bar featuring smoothies that students can stop by to enjoy on their way to class. At first,  all it will take is a couple of blender and some milk and/or yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.

Funding and Outfitting Your Play

Apply for Funding

Things That Might Help

  • Smoothie machine or blender, yogurt pump, other food prep equipment
  • Coolers, insulated bags, refrigerators or freezers
  • Salad/food bar, breakfast cart or kiosk
  • Permanent signs, menu boards/bulletin boards, posters, banners, flyers
  • Reward Trackers, such as punch cards, to record the number of times students eat breakfast, so they can earn prizes
  • Nutrient-rich foods for taste tasting to help students select foods to add to the school menu (suggested budget of $0.60 per student)

Take a look at this Equipment Catalog for items that might help in a big way!

note  Note: State and local dairy councils may not fund everything on this list. Check with your local dairy council to find out what their priorities for funding are.

Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60

Up to $4,000 per year is available to qualified K-12 schools enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60 to kick-start healthy changes! 

General Information

note  Note: Be sure to consult with your school's nutrition team when applying for a healthy eating grant!

Fuel Up to Play 60 provides this information as a courtesy. It does not imply an endorsement of the websites, organizations, or all information provided thereby. Fuel Up to Play 60 cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided through links. You will be subject to the destination site's privacy policy and terms of use when you leave this website.