Growing trend moves school breakfast from cafeteria to classroom

Published: May. 13, 2019 at 3:14 PM EDT
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Research shows breakfast is an important start of the day for students. Now a national program is trying to get even more kids to start the day with a meal, by serving it right in the classroom.

Before the first lesson of the day, these third graders at Edward Felegy Elementary School eat breakfast together, fueling up for their first math lesson.

"Instead of eating in the cafeteria, we can do our work and eat -- the day will go faster, said Eric Arinze, 3rd grade.

It's part of a growing nationwide effort to move school breakfast programs from the cafeteria into the classroom, so more students start their day with a nutritious boost.

"Most of our students do not have breakfast at home, so this is a wonderful way for them to start their day,"said Yvette Hicks, a teacher at the school.

"Breakfast in the Classroom" is now serving 75 school districts across 26 states. The Food Research and Action Center wants to expand the program even further, since they believe it's not reaching all the students who need it.

Research shows having breakfast can make a significant difference in a child's ability to learn.

"School breakfast can actually help improve academic achievement. It's linked to higher test scores, it's linked to kids being able to focus and concentrate and behave in the classroom," said the center's Crystal Fitzsimmons.

"It's a win win for everyone," said school nutrition counselor Joan Shorter. She says the program also helps students make healthy choices on their own. "On any given day we have our grains, we have our milk, fruit and juice."

Student Adalene Cortez says she can tell the difference when she skips breakfast. "I would feel hungry and I wouldn't feel like I could do my work," she said.

But now she has the energy to hit the books and excel.