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National School Breakfast Week: Our Top 5 Tips to Engage Kids with Breakfast at School

National School Breakfast Week (March 4-8, 2024) is a week-long celebration that is not just about serving breakfast at school; it's about promoting the benefits of a nutritious morning meal and ensuring all students start their day off right. At School Food and Wellness Group, we understand the significance of engaging kids with school breakfast, so we’ve compiled our Top 5 tips for schools of all operational capacities, to make breakfast not just a meal, but an experience that children look forward to every morning!
1. Make Breakfast More Accessible
Accessibility plays a significant role in increasing breakfast participation at school, so it’s important to consider implementing innovative breakfast models when trying to reach more kids. Breakfast in the Classroom programs allow students to eat together in class, fostering a sense of community and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to eat. Grab and Go Breakfast Carts positioned in strategic locations make it easy for students to pick up a nutritious meal on their way to class. Additionally, offering a Second Chance Breakfast after the first serving period can capture those students who may not have been hungry when they first arrived at school, or arrived late to school. These strategies help ensure that every student has the chance to benefit from a healthy breakfast every morning. 
2. Educate on the Importance of Breakfast
Incorporating educational components about the benefits of a healthy breakfast can also motivate students to eat breakfast at school. Try encouraging staff to provide short, engaging activities, or fun facts about nutrition during announcements or in the cafeteria during meal service. These ‘quick bites’ of nutrition education not only promote a healthy lifestyle, but also encourages kids to make healthier food choices inside and outside of school.
3. Incentivize Participation
To make the school breakfast program even more enticing, consider integrating raffles as part of an incentives program. For example, for every breakfast period a student participates in, they could receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win exciting prizes at the end of the week or month. This adds an element of excitement and anticipation to the program, encouraging students to consistently participate in the breakfast program. Even simple recognition, like a breakfast club card that gets stamped each day, can be a powerful motivator for students to keep eating breakfast at school!
4. Involve Parents and Caregivers
Engaging parents and caregivers is crucial for the success of the school breakfast program. In addition to utilizing newsletters and flyers to highlight the program's benefits, consider providing small samples of breakfast items to parents when they drop off their students at school. This direct approach not only allows parents to taste the meal options available to their children, but also serves as a powerful conversation starter about the importance of a healthy breakfast. This is an especially powerful strategy for schools operating under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), where school meals are provided at no cost to families!
5. Provide Variety and Quality
A rotating cycle menu that includes a variety of healthy, yet appealing meal options can keep students interested in the breakfast program. Solicit feedback regularly from students, and incorporate the feedback to tailor the menu to their tastes, while also continuing to adhere to nutritional guidelines to remain compliant. High-quality, fresh ingredients and visually appealing presentations can make all the difference in enticing students to eat breakfast at school!
National School Breakfast Week is an excellent time to emphasize the benefits of a nutritious morning meal and to engage students in establishing healthy eating habits. By making breakfast more accessible, educating students on its importance, incentivizing participation, involving parents and stakeholders, and ensuring meal variety, schools can dramatically increase engagement in their breakfast programs.
For even more tips and strategies on increasing breakfast participation, reach out to your School Food and Wellness Group Client Manager.


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