More than 14 million children start their weekdays off with a hot, well-rounded breakfast served in their school cafeteria.  Since its start in the early 1970's, and through all of the years of slow but steady growth, school breakfast programs have come to provide the same sort of nutritional resources that their luncheon counterparts have - at an economical price.

To shine the spotlight on these integral parts of the day, the School Nutrition Association holds an annual National School Breakfast Week celebration; this years celebration happens March 2 through March 6, 2020.

The School Breakfast Program was permanently established by Congress in 1975.

[T]he U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reimburses schools for each breakfast they serve, with higher reimbursements for reduced and free meals. Participating schools must offer free or reduced price breakfasts to eligible children and meals must meet federal nutrition guidelines. Children from families with incomes under 130 percent of the federal poverty level receive free meals and children from families between 130-185 percent pay 30 cents or less.

The benefits of breakfast availability in schools are many.

The Economic Research Service of the USDA found that children from low-income households or with parents leaving for work in the morning used the program the most. Those with access to school breakfast were more likely to eat breakfast in the morning. Along with improving school attendance, studies conclude children who eat school breakfast have improved standardized test scores.1 If a school breakfast program begins offering universal free school breakfast, children who participate more often show greater improvement over students at the same school who do not. Students who eat school breakfast have improved math scores, attendance, punctuality, and decreased anxiety, depression and hyperactivity.

To learn more about school breakfasts, click here.

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