Breakfast in the classroom: example

The hot choice

The cold choice
“Breakfast in the classroom” arrived this spring. I gave it some time and I can say that I’m happy about it. I’ve also talked to a lot my coworkers. There was initially some resistance among staff members, but it seems like that melted away quickly.
  • The kids love it — How great is it to walk into school and get food? The kids have big smiles on their faces when they are carrying their paper bags and milk to their classrooms.  
  • This is their breakfast — Most of the kids I chatted with weren’t getting breakfast at home.
  • Kids can refuse — Some kids don’t take the breakfast bag (I was concerned it would be forced on them) and I was happy to see that.
  • Choice between hot and cold — The kids who were eating breakfast in the cafeteria before have mentioned that they like that now they have two options.
  • It’s social — Eating with your class can be a wonderful social experience. I believe social skills, especially around meal time, are so valuable. Since my students don’t get recess, they get fewer opportunities to chat. Isn’t part of the the enjoyment of food related to eating it with company?
  • Fewer complaints of hunger — Kids aren’t saying they are hungry mid-morning. Huge win.

Other considerations:

  • Big variability among offerings in terms of quality — Cereal and milk are great (what I eat at home a lot of the time), but many of the breakfasts offer processed cheese, processed meat, and little whole grain. When that’s mirrored in the school lunch meal, it seems a little much.
  • Morning routine — Some classrooms are done eating quickly, while others take longer (preschool and special education). I find this to be a great argument for increasing the time given for lunch. It seems like the morning routine is more cohesive now that there is food.
  • Increased work for lunch staff — Breakfast participation before was significantly lower than it is now (virtually every kid is eating breakfast now, even many kids who pack a lunch from home). I’ve chatted about it with the lunchroom staff and they are overwhelmingly positive about breakfast. They’ve even told me that they think academic performance will increase. I agree.

Mornings are crazy. When I get the chance, I’ll snap pictures of my students’ breakfasts. I will not be eating the breakfast myself; I’m done eating school food! Been there, done that. By the way, what did you eat this morning for breakfast?

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59 thoughts on “Breakfast in the classroom: example”

  1. My God, most of you would complain if they were fed the best meal in the world! The people who respond are such food snobs. I finally figured out why I get so upset reading the comments here and that's it. I don't know about all the rest of you who comment here but not everyone can (or wants to) eat organic this and gluten-free that and OMG the horrors of HFCS! You complain about the 'nanny state' taking over the parents' job of feeding their own child, but then you agreed with the school that banned homemade lunches. Kinda reminds me of the parents who don't want to talk to their child about sex but don't want the schools giving them the facts, either.

    Rather than complaining on here, go down to your schools and make a change. Stop writing here how bad it is, how bad the food is, and do something about it. Pitch in more money so the lunches can be something better. Because until you stop complaining here and actually complain where it counts, at your own schools, none of what you say matters.

  2. I have to wonder how much actual classroom learning time gets, dare I say, eaten up during this meal and its associated prep and cleanup. Were I a parent who feeds my child at home (I have no kids), I would definitely be concerned about the time which could be used to teach and learn being spent on in-class brunch. Also, I have to wonder what considerations are made for kids who have severe allergies and need a food-free classroom environment. It seems to me that feeding kids breakfast, if not done at home, should be done BEFORE class time and in the cafeteria…period.

  3. THANK YOU Jenni and JT for saying what I was thinking. My eyes hurt from rolling them so much while reading these comments, where everyone feels compelled to specify that everything they eat is organic and grass-fed and nitrite-free.

    Good lord, but you are all a bunch of food snobs! I've always felt that way reading this blog (or, the comments rather), but this thread of comments takes the cake (except none of you would ever dare to eat cake, would you?). You are food snobs and clearly look down on those of us who can't afford to buy organic everything, and make us feel bad for doing the best we can with what we have.

    I agree that pennermag's opinion is especially ridiculous. You honestly believe that it's better for children to starve than eat something microwaved or wrapped in plastic? Seriously??? You're out of your mind.

    I also wanted to respond to the comment about how families can afford a cell phone but not to feed their kids. Maybe to you a cell phone is an accessory, but for many people it's a necessity as it's the only phone they own. And yes, having a phone IS a necessity, especially if you have kids. What if someone gets hurt and you have to call 911? I'm not saying parents shouldn't make feeding their kids priority #1, but your cell phone argument doesn't work.

    Seriously, Ms. Q, I love you and your blog. But the majority of your readers (the ones who comment, anyway) are unbearably snobbish.

  4. I bought the giant tub of old-fashioned NON-ORGANIC generic Wal-Mart brand oatmeal today. $2.44 for 30 servings. Cantelopes (non-organic, the only option at Wallyworld) were $1.09 and should provide 4-8 servings of fruit depending on appetite. Less than 25 cents per kid for homemade oatmeal and some cantelope. If you want to get crazy and blow more money on your kids, you could add the 32oz tub of Dannon plain non-organic lowfat or fullfat yogurt for $1.94…I bought two since my girls love yogurt. Squirt in a bit of honey or stir in some peanut butter or all-fruit jelly (good old non-fancy smucker's makes "simply fruit" for about $1.60 a jar). Or add some natural applesauce to the yogurt, many stores sell natural unsweetened applesauce quite cheaply. Eating healthy foods doesn't have to be expensive and I don't buy cost as a valid excuse for feeding kids crap.

  5. Kids don't need free food from school. If anything, their parents need a class on budgeting – both time and money. If I only had $100 to spend this month, my top-most priority would be food for my children. Instead, parents in the taking class spend it on cell phones, cable and new tennis shoes. Enough is enough. I'll take care of my kids, you take care of yours.

  6. If I only had $100 to spend this month, my top-most priority would be food for my children.

    Good luck keeping a job when you don't have a HOME because you didn't pay the rent. No showers, no beds, no clean clothes.

  7. Hi, Mrs. Q —
    I'm surprised you say this is the only breakfast for many of your kids. The USDA study of this program finds that it does **not** reduce the likelihood that a child goes without breakfast a single bit. It does, however, increase the likelihood that a child eats two breakfasts, which is likely to increase childhood obesity.

    Looking forward to more of your pictures. I hear the kids especially love the chocolate frosted mini-wheats!

    –a fan

  8. Wow – this post is crazy!

    First, as a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener: My son eats a healthy breakfast at home every day. My son also loves to eat. So if he were offered a breakfast at school, too, he would eat it. So, from my perspective as a parent who has the means and the time to supply a healthy breakfast – I am opposed to breakfast in the classroom since it would be adding what I consider "junk" food to his diet.

    From the perspective of eating breakfast: It's such an important meal, so it's great that this ensures that they get a "good" start. Unfortunately, like lunches, there is a lot of room to improve with the nutritional worth of the food provide.

    Then, lastly, to the "food snob" comments that are floating around here – because I choose to eat more wholesome (not processed) organic food more than not does make me a "rich snob". I just prioritize my money differently. Also, I am frugal with what I buy. Buy in season; buy sales; make beans from scratch. I see so many "poor" people spend their food dollar unwisely – I could get way more nutrionally bang for the same buck.

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