School Breakfast

Every child needs a healthy breakfast to start their day ready to learn, but many children arrive at school either without eating breakfast or only having eaten a sugary snack. Before classes even start these children are at a disadvantage. The School Breakfast Program (SBP), by providing students with a nutritious meal, has been shown to improve academic performance and health.  In addition, parents of all income levels appreciate the convenience and peace of mind knowing their children will receive a healthy breakfast at school.


Hunger Free Vermont and New England Dairy and Food Council challenge schools across the state to increase student participation in the School Breakfast Program by at least 20% or more by moving breakfast after the bell. 


School Breakfast Improves School PerformANCE:

  • Students do better academically, including on standardized tests
  • Students are more alert and attentive 
  • Students have fewer behavior problems 
  • Students are less likely to be absent, tardy or suspended 
  • Students who eat breakfast at school score 17.5% higher on standardized math tests, have better attendance, and are 20% more likely to graduate from high school 

School Breakfast Improves Nutrition and Health

  • Students are less likely to end up in the nurse’s office complaining of stomachaches or headaches 
  • Students have a healthier diet that includes more fruit 
  • Students who eat a well-balanced breakfast daily have a decreased risk for obesity and chronic diseases
  • Breakfast programs improve food access at home, improving diets and health

What goes into a school breakfast

Best Practices for Increasing Participation in School Breakfast


Move Breakfast After the Bell

“Breakfast After the Bell,” meaning any service model that provides students the opportunity to eat breakfast after the official start of the school day, has proven to be effective in transforming school breakfast programs and increasing participation by students from all income groups. “Breakfast After the Bell” models include:

“Grab-and-Go,” where students pick up bagged breakfasts as they get off the school bus or in the hallways on their way to class

“Second Chance Breakfast,” where students who arrive late or are not hungry early in the morning can pick up a breakfast from the cafeteria during their first break

“Breakfast in the Classroom,” where food is delivered to the classroom for all students; and “Breakfast After First Period,” where breakfast is served to all students later in the morning. 

Breakfast in the classroom as instructional time

Please read this letter from the Vermont Secretary of Education stating that meals served in the classroom count as instructional time.   The letter also points out some successful approaches that many schools have incorporated during this time.  Some examples are a morning activity, announcements and other opportunities for studentengagement during breakfast in the classroom. 

Implement Universal Free School Meals

Combining one or more Breakfast After the Bell models with a Universal Free School Breakfast Program, in which all students receive breakfast at no charge regardless of their family income, increases participation even more.