Take-Home Breakfasts for Students

How students “Take Off with School Breakfast” varies from school to school across the country during National School Breakfast Week (March 7-11, 2022). Dealing with various challenges over the past two years has prompted many school meal programs to get creative to ensure students have a healthy breakfast to nourish their day. Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis County (MO) has been providing healthy breakfasts to students at the end of the day to bring home and eat in the next morning. 

“We provide the free grab and go meals to every student who wants them,” said Irene Wan, Director of Food Services for Maplewood Richmond Heights School District. “This change in the breakfast program means students don’t have to take off their masks in the classroom to eat.” 

School nutrition staff puts together roughly 400 to-go breakfast bags each day for the students of Maplewood Richmond Heights’ three schools, in addition to preparing and serving lunch. While the bags provide mostly pre-packaged foods, it doesn’t mean the breakfasts are any less nutritious. The well-balanced bagged breakfast meals provide each student a whole grain and/or lean protein as well as a fruit, vegetable and/or 100% fruit juice and milk. The district provides heating instructions for the entrees that need it.

The school nutrition staff makes sure the students receive appropriate portion sizes for their grade level.  “For our younger students in kindergarten through sixth grade, teachers ask each day who wants breakfast and at the end of the day the meals are dropped off outside the classroom,” said Wan. “The middle school and high school students can grab a bagged breakfast as they walk out the school door at the end of the day.”  

Wan says in the elementary schools they are seeing about the same participation rate for breakfast as they did pre-pandemic, while the middle school and high school have seen a drop. Maplewood Richmond Heights School District is glad to be providing a nutritious meal to every child who wants one.

The NSBW campaign theme reminds students and families of the importance of fueling up for a busy school day.  Research shows students who eat school breakfast perform better on standardized tests and have improved classroom behavior and attendance.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the School Breakfast Program and to promote the links between eating a nutritious breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyle.

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