- Serving breakfast after the bell rings, allowing students with long bus rides to eat during their commute, and providing older students a “second chance” to get breakfast after first period are a few of the strategies that a Utah nonprofit organization is recommending to increase participation in school breakfast programs, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Utahns Against Hunger and its Utah Breakfast Expansion Team say that with only 39% of students eating breakfast at school, the state ranks last in the nation on this child nutrition measure.
- The advocates say that at long as breakfast is served before school starts, low-income students miss out if they arrive at school just in time for class or if they want to avoid the stigma of eating meals reserved for poor students — but another 45,000 Utah students should be eating school breakfasts to reach an acceptable standard of 70% participation, according to the group’s leaders.
Recent policies have focused on eliminating lunch shaming, but the methods or timing that schools use to provide breakfast might also create a stigma for students. According to the Food and Research Action Center (FRAC), school breakfast participation improves students’ ability to learn, their behavior and their intake of healthy food, but they might skip breakfast if it’s inconvenient or makes them feel as if they are being singled out as less fortunate than their peers.
According to No Kid Hungry, six states have passed legislation requiring “breakfast after the bell” in schools that already have a percentage of students from low-income homes. Last year, FRAC and the National Association of Secondary School Principals released a toolkit for schools making a transition to a later breakfast model. The resource includes sample outreach materials, as well as a list of equipment that might be necessary if students eat in the classroom, such as additional trash cans, roller carts or coolers.