School Breakfasts – A healthy option for busy families
Lynn Geist, Director, Nutrition Services for Pinellas County Schools , FL
Monday, March 2nd kicks off National School Breakfast Week. School cafeterias and students across the US will celebrate how school breakfasts provide healthy, well-balanced meals to help students start their day. Numerous studies support the educational benefits, as well as significant health benefits for kids who eat breakfast.
Many Tampa Bay area schools will be decorating cafeterias, sampling new breakfast foods and holding contests and other fun activities to raise awareness about the convenient and nutritious breakfasts that we serve daily. Parents can visit www.Facebook.com/TrayTalk for more National School Breakfast Week giveaways and to learn school breakfast facts.
Unfortunately, too many students aren’t getting the fuel they need in the morning, whether because of lack of food available or simply due to the difficulty of the morning rush for families. Schools are getting creative about how to reach as many students as possible with healthy school breakfasts. Since 2013, Pinellas County breakfast has been free for all students.
All schools who participate in the federally funded School Breakfast Program must follow nutrition guidelines to ensure balanced, healthy breakfasts are available to fuel students’ days. In addition to getting a fruit or juice and milk, each student can choose an entree item. All grains served in schools are whole-grain rich, and all of the milk we serve is low-fat or fat-free.
In Pinellas County, we provide a wide selection with daily hot menu entrée item such as Ham, Egg & Cheese Croissant or Breakfast Sausage Bagels or cereal selections and toast. Many of the cereals or breakfast bars you recognize from the grocery store are served in lower-sugar, whole grain versions in schools. Last school year alone, we served 4,840,091 breakfasts in our district!
Alternative serving methods such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab-n-Go and Second-chance Breakfast are becoming more and more common in schools nationwide to help support increase participation.
Schools in Pinellas County and around the country are hoping to spread the word about well-balanced (and convenient!) school breakfast options during National School Breakfast Week, March 2-6.
Please contact your school cafeteria manager with questions and learn more about the national School Breakfast Program, including new national nutrition guidelines for school breakfasts, at https://schoolnutrition.org/NSBW2015/HandoutsForKidsParents/.
*This is a sponsored post.