Did you skip breakfast today? Remember that feeling of discomfort and distraction as you counted down the time until lunch? Staring at the clock, the minutes just didn’t move fast enough. Now imagine yourself as a child, with a packed morning full of writing, thinking and learning in front of you – no way will you be at your best!
This week marks School Breakfast Week (March 6-10) across the country. And for more than 50 years, USDA’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) has provided children of all economic backgrounds in schools nationwide with the opportunity for a well-balanced, healthy meal. These meals are consistent with the latest nutrition science and Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Over the last year, over 14.5 million children participated in the SBP, with more than 2.4 billion meals served in the more than 90,000 schools!
We all know that good nutrition is critical to a child’s overall success. A well-balanced breakfast offers an important nutritional foundation, ensuring students have the energy and nutrition they need to thrive. Further, research shows that children who skip breakfast are at an academic disadvantage: Students who consume breakfast make greater strides on standardized tests, pay attention and behave better in class, and are less frequently tardy, absent or visiting the nurse’s office.
USDA supports the SBP by providing the resources and support necessary to give kids the kick-start they need to be healthy and strong all day long. For over 20 years, USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative has provided resources, training materials and nutrition education lessons for schools, to promote healthy food choices and physical activity among children.
For instance, check out the MyPlate Guide to School Breakfast for families highlights healthy foods that are part of a balanced school breakfast. Or Be Your Best with Breakfast, which encourages families to eat breakfast and to check out the SBP at their school, if available. Even more great materials can be found on the Team Nutrition School Breakfast Resources Page!
On March 6, USDA announced the availability of up to $5.6 million in competitive Team Nutrition Training Grants for states to conduct and evaluate training, nutrition education and technical assistance activities to support the implementation of USDA nutrition standards for meals and snacks. More information on this year’s request for applications can be found here www.fns.usda.gov/tn/fy2017-team-nutrition.
The SBP is one of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s 15 nutrition assistance programs, which include the National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Together, these programs comprise America's nutrition safety net.