Breakfast at School

Breakfast Boosts Brain Power

A hungry stomach can lead to an empty mind. Breakfast helps students be their best. Studies conclude that good nutrition including school breakfast leads to improved classroom performance, higher test scores and better behavior.  It can be a challenge to get students to the cafeteria before school, consider making breakfast part of the school day with the following expanding breakfast programs.

grab n go breakfast cart with milk, yogurt basket, and breakfast sandwiches with cheese

Other organizations provide resources that can help schools expand their breakfast programs, check out:

Breakfast in the Classroom Toolkit (School Nutrition Foundation)

The Wellness Impact, Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments report was recently released to highlight the “Learning Connection” – the science-based concept that improved nutrition, including breakfast, coupled with physical activity can help lead to better academic performance.

Former Secretary of Education Promotes Breakfast – Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was appointed from 2009 to 2015, supports innovative ways to increase breakfast at school — like Fuel Up to Play 60’s Healthy Eating Plays “Grab-n-Go Breakfast” and “Breakfast in the Classroom” – to help students learn. Click here to read his 2012 key policy letter in its entirety.

  • Breakfast in the Classroom — Many schools that have implemented Breakfast in the Classroom to deliver pre-packaged food items to the class before the bell rings. Students eat at their desks in 10 to 12 minutes while attendance and announcements are being done or while teachers read aloud.
  • Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast — Serving carts with bagged or packaged food items, located in easily accessible locations near the school entrance or in busy hallways. A practical and appealing way to reach kids in a hurry.
  • Breakfast After 1st Period — Served in the cafeteria or from carts or tables at a central location in the school, this is ideal for secondary students.

Fuel Up to Play 60 – Helping Schools Increase Breakfast Participation

Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program empowers students to create and Fuel Up to Play with the NFLimplement activities that reward them for making healthy choices and inspire change in their school. Students participate in fun challenges, track their own healthy eating and physical activity, and work collaboratively with adults to implement and complete Healthy Eating and Physical Activity “Plays” or action strategies. Many schools have increased breakfast participation through a “Play” called Breakfast – Anytime, Anywhere. Designed to help make breakfast foods available outside the cafeteria, this “Play” includes Breakfast in the Classroom, “Grab-n-Go” options, Breakfast at the Bell, picnics, special breakfast events and more. Clayton Elementary, in Englewood CO, and Burlington Elementary in Burlington, CO the 2011 and 2012 CO School Breakfast Challenge winners respectively, used Fuel Up to Play 60 to implement Breakfast in the Classroom. At Clayton, participation soared from approximately 80 to 450 students eating a nutritious breakfast at their desk daily. Fuel Up to Play 60, also provides several funding opportunities throughout the school year which can be used to support “Bring On Breakfast” options. Check out for grant application opportunities.

Hunger Free Colorado

Hunger Free Colorado works with schools and communities to increase participation in the School Breakfast Hunger Free ColoradoProgram by assisting with the implementation of innovative-serving models that incorporate breakfast as part of the school’s morning routine. Instead of the traditional method of serving breakfast in the cafeteria before classes start, elementary to high schools across the state can make it easier for students by offering Breakfast in the Classroom or Grab and Go. For alternative school breakfast resources, toolkits and grants, go Hunger Free Colorado.

Food Research & Action Center

Food Research & Action Center provides a variety of school breakfast research materials and implementation tools.

Local Expanding Breakfast Champion Success Stories

  • Paula LeMere, Director of School Food Service, Rocky Boy Elementary, Box Elder, Montana
  • Jill Kidd, Director of Nutrition Services, Pueblo School District No.60, Pueblo, CO
  • Paula Buser, Director of School Nutrition Services, Canon City, CO
  • Sue Harter, Nutrition Service Director, School District, Gillette, WY
  • Jennifer Spellman, Director of School Foodservice, Great Falls, MT
  • Maria Stover, Nutrition Services Director, Victor, MT

Discover School Breakfast Toolkit:

USDA’s Discover School Breakfast Toolkit is a resource that can be used to help increase access to the School Breakfast Program by expanding participation in schools that already serve breakfast and increasing the number of schools offering breakfast.  The user-friendly toolkit can be downloaded here.

School Breakfast Communications Materials for various audiences

For additional breakfast ideas visit