Nutrition Education Resources

School Breakfast: Information for Parents

Fast and Healthy Food for Thought

Want your children to be alert, focused and ready to tackle the day's academic challenges? Encourage them to eat breakfast. Not just on test days, but every day of the year. It's well-documented that breakfast eaters are healthier and more energetic throughout the day.


National studies consistently confirm that breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Eating breakfast:

  • Improves classroom performance, including better test scores and grades
  • Increases children's ability to focus and concentrate on school work
  • Decreases behavior problems, tardiness and visits to the school nurse
  • Increases attendance rate

Just as important, when students routinely start their day with breakfast, chances are good that it will become a habit that carries into their teenage and adult years.

School Breakfast Ensures a Nutritious Start Every Day

Breakfast builds better bodies! If your children don't have time to eat at home or simply aren't hungry first thing in the morning, have them give school breakfast a try. It's a great option for all children, regardless of income! Here's why:

  • School breakfast supplies 1/4 of the Recommended Daily Allowances a child needs.
  • It's a healthy, nutritious meal that provides a variety of foods.
  • It's easy and convenient. You can feel comfortable that your child is eating a nutritious meal and getting the best possible start to a day of learning.

Expanding Breakfast: Why Parents Should Care

Many schools capture breakfast skippers by Expanding Breakfast service beyond the cafeteria's walls. This may already be the case in your child's school. If not, it's worth asking your school nutrition director to consider it as an option. The reason - schools find that when they take breakfast to students, instead of expecting the student to come to the cafeteria, more students eat breakfast and gain the academic, behavioral and nutritional benefits. When all students in a classroom eat breakfast, everyone from teachers to students to parents wins. Typically, schools use one of three approaches, depending on their unique setting:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom — Students eat breakfast in their classroom, either at the beginning of or early in the school day. A breakfast of easy-to-eat items, such as breakfast sandwiches and burritos, low-fat muffins, French toast sticks, cereals, plus milk and fruit or juice, are brought from the cafeteria to the classroom, often by students.
  • Grab 'n' Go Breakfast — Breakfast is packaged so students can quickly grab it from the cafeteria or carts elsewhere in the school. They eat it in the cafeteria, the classroom or on the school grounds.
  • Breakfast After 1st Period — Usually served in middle and high schools, students are allowed to get breakfast after their first period.

Your local Dairy Council® is available as a resource for schools interested in Expanding Breakfast.