School breakfast gets an A+, according to the Breakfast for Learning report conducted by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). A healthy morning meal at school helps improve children’s academic performance, from their scores on standardized tests to their memory and comprehension. In addition, well-fed students tend to have more positive health outcomes and fewer disciplinary issues than their breakfast-less peers.
Help your child get a smart start to the day: Learn about Massachusetts’ School Breakfast Program (SBP) and easy ways you can create yummy meals at home.
What Is the School Breakfast Program?
The SBP provides federal funds to deliver morning fare that meets national nutrition standards for school meals. Schools and institutions must also serve free and low-cost breakfasts as part of the program. Currently, more than 150,000 children across Massachusetts eat a healthy breakfast each morning with the help of the SBP, which is administered at the state level by the Department of Elementary Secondary Education (ESE). More than 73 percent of Massachusetts schools participate.
Who Is Eligible for the SBP?
Any child at an institution enrolled in the program may buy a school breakfast. Students from families who have incomes at 130 percent of the poverty level or below (presently $31,005 or less for a family of four) qualify for free meals. Children in families between 130 and 185 percent of the poverty level (between $31,005 and $44,123 for a family of four) are eligible for reduced-price school breakfasts.
What if My School Does Not Participate in the SBP?
There are still ways to help your child begin the day successfully with a nutritious breakfast. Mass in Motion, an initiative of the Department of Public Health (DPH), offers some great examples of the elements of a healthy breakfast:
- Low-fat, nonfat yogurt;
- Low-fat, non-fat cottage cheese or cream cheese;
- Sliced fruit;
- Hard-boiled eggs;
- Part-skim string cheese;
- Oatmeal and other whole-grain cereals;
- Whole-wheat English muffins, bagels, and toast; or
- Whole-wheat waffles and pancakes.
Proper nutrition for children and high academic standards remain top priorities in Massachusetts’ education system. A total of 967 schools in 479 districts ensure students have access to a nutritious school breakfast every morning. Join the Commonwealth in making sure all students start the day on the right foot.
What’s your child’s favorite healthy breakfast? Share with us in the comments below or tweet us @MassGov.
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