by Joyce Fisher
THE SCHOOL BREAKFAST
What is the School Breakfast Program?
The School Breakfast Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It began as a pilot project in 1966, and was made permanent in 1975. The School Breakfast Program is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service.
How does the School Breakfast Program work?
The School Breakfast Program operates in the same manner as the National School Lunch Program. Generally, public or nonprofit private schools of high school grade or under and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions may participate in the School Breakfast Program. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the breakfast program receive cash subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve breakfasts that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced price breakfasts to eligible children.
What are the meal requirements for school breakfasts?
The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 directed USDA to update the SBP meal pattern and nutrition standards based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Changes to the School Breakfast Program meal pattern will take place gradually beginning in SY 2013-14.
More whole grains will be offered; meals will supply appropriate calories for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12, and the sodium content of meals will be gradually reduced (sodium targets must be reached by SY 2014-15, SY 2017-18 and SY 2022-23).
Bowling Green R-1 has begun changes to the breakfast program this year by increasing whole grains, offering a variety of fruit, juice and several flavors of milk.
Breakfast pricing for all grade levels in the district is $1.40. This includes the main item, fruit, juice and milk. Students who receive free or reduced meal pricing must take at least three of the four items offered at breakfast or will be responsible for paying for individual items.
How do children qualify for free and reduced price breakfasts?
Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast
Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 30 cents.(For the period July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, 130 percent of the poverty level is $29,965 for a family of four; 185 percent is $42,643).
Studies show that children who eat breakfast –
• establish healthier habits for later in life
• have fewer absences and incidences of tardiness
• show improvement in performance on math, reading and standardized test scores
• are more likely to behave better in school on a regular basis are less likely to be overweight
School breakfast provides 1⁄4 the recommended amounts of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C for the day.
All grade levels at Bowling Green R-1 School District are now offered a second choice at breakfast. Each day, a student may choose the regular entrée or an alternate. This has been a positive change, and has encouraged many students to eat breakfast on a more regular basis.
Items that are regularly served for breakfast include these favorites: Biscuits and Gravy, French Toast Sticks, Breakfast Pizza, Sausage Biscuit, Fresh Baked Muffins, Scrambled Eggs, Toast and Bacon and much more! Included with these items are fresh or canned fruit, apple, orange, grape juice, and choice of milk flavors. All for $1.40!