Starting the day with a healthy school breakfast ensures that children have the nutrition they need to learn and thrive
The School Breakfast Program is a federal program that provides nutritionally balanced breakfasts to low-income children at school for free or at a reduced price. Participation in school breakfast not only helps families stretch their food budget, it improves student health and academic performance.
- Providing breakfast to students at school improves their concentration, alertness, and comprehension
- Students who eat breakfast at school score higher on vocabulary and reading tests than those who don’t eat breakfast
- Low-income students who eat school breakfast are more likely to consume an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals than those who not eat breakfast at school
- Access to school breakfast decreases the likelihood of skipped meals among children at risk of food insecurity
Despite the benefits of school breakfast, the program continues to be underutilized across Montana. Just one-third of students enrolled in free or reduced-price school meals participated in school breakfast in the 2014-2015 school year.
MFBN works to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program by analyzing and sharing participation data at the state and school levels. Our annual School Breakfast Report helps schools assess their programs in relation to others in the state, and encourages them to make breakfast a priority. MFBN also collects and highlights best practices (such as alternative serving models including Breakfast in the Classroom, Breakfast After the Bell, or Grab n’ Go) and provides mini-grant support to schools to make positive changes to their programs. MFBN also advocates for policies at the state and federal levels that support access to school breakfast, such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
For more information about MFBN’s work to increase access to School Breakfast in Montana contact Oscar Pena, Public Policy Coordinator