Alternative Breakfast Models Boost Participation

February 19, 2020

Just weeks after the Trump administration announced new proposed rollbacks to school food, including breakfast, a report revealed the very breakfast serving models the rollbacks address are having the most success at increasing breakfast participation among the children who need it the most.

During the 2018-2019 school year, more than 14.6 million children—including 12.4 million low-income students—ate breakfast in schools, according to the annual School Breakfast Scorecard, released last week by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). The report looks at breakfast participation overall and specifically among students that qualify for free or reduced-price.

Nationally, participation rates were about the same as the previous year, but alternative breakfast models helped bolster participation in certain states. “The states that have made steady gains in participation among low-income children are those that have breakfast after the bell models in place, often combined with offering breakfast at no charge,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out-of-school time programs at FRAC. “We urge more states to promote this approach.”

One of the proposed school food rollbacks targets fruit served in alternative breakfast models, like breakfast in the classroom and grab and go breakfast. The proposed rule would allow schools to serve less fruit in alternative models than is offered in traditional cafeteria-style service.

Breakfast is such an important meal, especially for students who might struggle to get a nutritious breakfast at home. Healthy Schools Campaign has always been an advocate for school breakfast and specifically for alternative breakfast models that make it easier for students to get this important meal.

Now is not the time to roll back progress! You can raise your voice and submit an official public comment in opposition to the proposed rules until March 23.