SCHOOL BREAKFAST By the Numbers • Average daily participation (ADP) for the National School Lunch Program is 30.5 million, while ADP for the School Breakfast Program is 14 million. (USDA) • Of the 21 million kids who eat a free or reduced-price lunch, only half also eat breakfast, despite their eligibility. (No Kid Hungry) • When compared to students who eat breakfast at home, or don’t eat breakfast at all, school breakfast eaters: have improved nutrition, eat more fruit, consume more milk, are less likely to be overweight and consume a wider variety of foods. (Food Research and Action Center) • Kids who eat school breakfast attend 1.5 more days of school per year and earn 17.5% higher scores in math. (No Kid Hungry) • Just 38% of teenagers eat breakfast every day. (No Kid Hungry) • Students who eat breakfast demonstrate improved memory and attention spans. (No Kid Hungry) 14 Million 1.5 More days 38% Teenagers 17.5% higher scores Q & A: Offer-Versus-Serve at Breakfast Q: What is offer-versus-serve (OVS)? Can it be used at breakfast? A: It’s a provision in the regulations that allows students to decline a component of a reimbursable meal. For school breakfast, students must take three of four offered components, while for school lunch, students must take at least three of five offered meal components. Q: How does OVS help to manage waste at breakfast time? A: “Offer-versus-serve is a good way to reduce waste, because students don’t have to take an item they know they won’t consume,” says Elizabeth Campbell, RD, a consultant for the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom initiative. “As long as students are offered four components at breakfast, and they take three, that meal is reimbursable.” Q: How does this work when meals are delivered to classrooms? A: For a direct delivery, you can send all of the components to the classroom, while a grab ‘n’ go OVS service will require you to pre-bag the milk, one-half cup fruit serving and the grain item, leaving the student to choose whether to take the additional fruit, explains Campbell. Five Common Breakfast in the Classroom Myths MYTH: Breakfast in the classroom (BIC) creates messes and waste. FACT: Whether you are running a grab ‘n’ go-style breakfast or direct-to-classroom delivery, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce waste and address mess. Purchase special equipment, like custodial carts, to improve clean-up efficiency. Provide teachers with disinfecting wipes so they can immediately address smaller spills. Create a rotating menu stacked with student favorites; include both hot and cold offerings, if possible. MYTH: Kids who eat breakfast at home, and then again at school, are at risk of obesity. FACT: A recent study tracked nearly 600 middle-school students from fifth to seventh grade, designed to determine the obesity risk for students whether they ate one or two breakfasts or skipped the morning meal entirely. The results: Students who ate two breakfasts were at no greater risk for weight gain than other students, while breakfast skippers almost doubled their risk of obesity! MYTH: Teachers hate it! FACT: Though some teachers are resistant to the concept at first, the benefits of BIC—improved focus and memory, reduced tardies, improved attendance and behavior—quickly win over skeptics. In fact, many teachers report that BIC becomes important bonding time with and among the students, creating a “family atmosphere” and a calm, relaxed start to the school day. MYTH: BIC takes away from instructional time. FACT: Rather than disrupting the school day, the 10- to 15-minute BIC period often becomes an extension of class time, giving teachers the opportunity to review the day’s agenda, discuss current events or quietly go over homework. Many teachers report that BIC gives them the opportunity to touch on important life lessons with students, such as good manners, table etiquette and personal hygiene. MYTH: BIC is impossible when children have food allergies. FACT: If you are already accommodating students with allergies, you can continue that management plan into the classroom at breakfast. Communication with all stakeholders is the key—student, parents, teachers, principal, school nurse and your staff. Work with everyone within your school’s Food Allergy Management and Prevention Plan to create strategies to keep students with allergies safe, such as establishing a no-food-sharing rule and regularly reviewing proper hand-washing procedures with students and staff. 5 Reasons YOU Should Be Eating Breakfast! 1) It’s a Brain Thing: You think and learn better after you eat breakfast. Didn’t you just get done telling that to a student? It goes for you, too. 2) It’s a Health Thing: Where do we start when it comes to the health benefits of breakfast? Breakfast eaters get more vital nutrients, while breakfast-skippers miss out on these, without making them up in meals over the rest of the day. (Maybe they are on to something with that “most important meal of the day” stuff.) 3) It’s a Weight Thing: Studies show that consuming breakfast helps people lose weight and maintain weight loss over time. Breakfast is what tells your body’s metabolism to WAKE UP, already! 4) It’s a Feel-Good Thing: Overall, we just kind of feel better when we eat breakfast. We have more energy! We think more clearly! Plus, who doesn’t want another delicious meal added to their daily roster? 5) It’s An Example Thing: Modeling good behavior is just as important as providing that morning meal for students. If they see a breakfast eater, they are more likely to be a breakfast eater! Breakfast Tips For Managers From Managers NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE SERVING BREAKFAST or what model you are using, school breakfast presents unique challenges that set it apart from school lunch service. We asked five of your peers to share their strategies for success. (Turn page) • “Visiting a school to see breakfast in the classroom in action really helped us understand the program. We got up very early in the morning to get to Mobile, because we wanted to see every process, not just the classroom delivery. That helped me decide the kind of delivery and equipment I wanted to use, and it also helped me to see these kids so eager to eat breakfast. When we brought the program back here, the kids just loved it.” —Adele Baugh, Cafeteria Manager, Jackson Intermediate, Clarke County (Ala.) Schools • “Social media, starting with Facebook, made us really transparent. Not only were we posting photos of [meals], we were also polling parents on what they would like to see us serve, and what the kids would like to see served. That’s been an awesome tool for us, opening the lines of communication, creating transparency and giving parents and students a say.” —Keshia Williams, Nutrition Specialist, Haralson County (Ga.) Schools • “Production records became so important for breakfast in the classroom. When packing up food for 20 or 25 classrooms, it’s really important to look at your history to see how much food everyone is taking. Once we started taking detailed notes we were able to significantly reduce our waste.” —Sarah Keene, Food Services Manager, Schuylerville Central (N.Y.) Schools • “Personalized service! Know your customers. What do they like? If it can be accommodated, we accommodate. Kids love it when they can walk up and say, ‘The usual,’ and the server has it ready for them.” —Cory Talbott, RD, Foodservice Manager, Glen Burnie High School, Anne Arundel County (Md.) Public Schools • “Open communication with the teachers. The teachers are the ones in the classroom with the kids when they receive the food. In our middle school, our kids are becoming more health conscious, so giving the teachers the nutrition information is also important.” —Bernice Campbell, Jackson Middle School, Clarke County (Ala.) Schools Roxanne “Roxi” Knops SNA School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative Breakfast and More: Lifelong Learning With SNA I’M PLEASED THAT MY LAST COLUMN FOR SCHOOL NUTRITION COINCIDES WITH THIS NEW RECURRING SECTION written just for managers and employees like you and me. I’m looking forward to reading it—and new SNA Employee/Manager Representative Donna Myers’ reflections—in future issues. And since I wrote most of this column before this section, with this month’s theme on “school breakfast,” was developed, I’ll just note that I will enjoy learning about breakfast in these short articles, because lifelong learning is one of the best aspects of being a school nutrition professional—and a member of SNA! I have learned more during these past 21 months serving on the SNA Board of Directors than in the past 22 years as a “lunch lady.” I have learned that by stepping out of your box and saying “yes” when someone asks you to be a part of our exciting organization, you can grow by leaps and bounds! I feel fortunate to have served, and because of that involvement, I am now so much more aware of all that goes on behind the scenes in schools and at SNA. I have learned that, even though many miles separate SNA managers and employees across the country, we are all very much alike. The climate may be different, the buildings we work in may be dissimilar, but we are all here for the same reason: We love our jobs, our coworkers and, most of all, our kids! I have learned that it’s easy to learn! There’s so much information we can access online, compared to when I earned my Certificate 22 years ago. Now you can take webinars in your jammies at home! But as a people person, I like to learn best surrounded by others sharing ideas. It’s so much fun at conferences to start a conversation with someone you don’t know and find out favorite recipes or ideas to make a task easier. That’s one reason I’m looking forward to ANC in San Antonio! I hope to see many of you there. Until our paths cross, thanks for taking the time to read my column—keep up the good work and please keep in touch! BUILDING BREAKFAST CHEERLEADERS WHAT HAPPENS when you encounter breakfast service resistance among your own cafeteria staff? Breakfast can mean a lot of extra work, but if you present the benefits for your program and your students, you can create a base of strong support in the cafeteria to take with you to your director and administrators. “BE POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE,” says Cory Talbott, RD, foodservice manager at Glen Burnie High School in Anne Arundel County (Md.) Public Schools. “Thank your staff, and regularly share your successes with them—and the whole school. Negativity spreads, so get to the root of it. You may have to say, ‘I appreciate that you don’t like this idea, but give me a week and let’s talk.’ If it turns out they are correct, revisit your plan! “I also send out an email every Friday to staff and the administration with all of our menus, and I include Second Chance Breakfast stats or a fun fact, such as ‘Check out how many meals Dayna prepared’ to help [staff] stay connected. Even if only five people read it, that’s five more people that may ‘get’ our program.” REQUEST THEIR EXPERT OPINIONS. When employees are asked to weigh in with opinions and suggestions, you’re helping secure buy-in for your breakfast program. “I ask my remote kiosks on a regular basis if anything needs to be tweaked. Streamlining is important—we have it down to the minute for when kiosks must leave the kitchen—because every second counts. Finding an apple juice on the left when it’s usually on the right can cost 4-5 seconds. Their knowledge will help you constantly refine and perfect your process.” MAKE ROOM FOR FUN! “Don’t forget your staff are customers, too—have fun with it! We have informal competitions between us for who can process the most transactions during Second Chance.”
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