Breakfast in the classroom: example nine

Banana (top), “pink” yogurt, grahams

Surprisingly, I reviewed the ingredients in the yogurt and guess what? No artificial flavors (No Red #40!).

Well, knock me over with a feather.

File under: don’t judge a book by its cover. A good reminder for me, especially.

I’m encouraged by this breakfast. Real fruit, yogurt and some graham crackers? Simple. That I like.

Oh yeah, the kids don’t use spoons to eat the yogurt. They just squeeze the container and suck it out!

***

When I blogged about teachers eating the occasional school breakfast, a reader contacted me and said,

I believe that you live in the Midwest, as do I, and at my school funding for the breakfast program is based off of how many people eat it, whether that be students, teachers, or support staff. My school encourages everyone to go through the line and get something that is offered, even if it is just a box of milk or a piece of fruit. When I read what you had said about the teacher eating the breakfast my first thought was “they aren’t telling them no because of funding”…. I’m really just curious to see if your school is the same as mine. Do you know??

I don’t know. However, when a teacher grabs a breakfast either the teacher herself/himself or the lunch lady writes down “teacher” on a tally sheet of sorts. It’s not going unreported, but no teacher is handing over any cash. Hmm.
 
I loved that many of you commented that in your schools the teacher models for the classroom how to eat breakfast. Some of you commented that you are required to grab a breakfast so that everyone can enjoy breakfast together. The teacher eating the breakfast is a powerful endorsement.

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15 Responses to Breakfast in the classroom: example nine

  1. BusyChica June 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    This breakfast looks promising. Hopefully there will be more mornings like this.

  2. Dana Woldow June 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    You quote a reader as saying that "at my school funding for the breakfast program is based off of how many people eat it, whether that be students, teachers, or support staff. My school encourages everyone to go through the line and get something that is offered, even if it is just a box of milk or a piece of fruit."

    Either this reader is at a school which is not operating under the federal School Breakfast Program, which does not provide any reimbursement for meals eaten by non-students, whether they be school staff, parents, or younger subs of students (not yet enrolled in school), or else the school is fraudulently billing the federal government for the cost of those non student meals.

    The only other possibility is that the school might possibly have some kind of outside private funding which provides a certain sum for each meal eaten regardless of who eats it, but if that is the case, it is a special circumstance and would not apply to any other school.

    It is also possible that this reader is misunderstanding how her school meal program works, that the school simply absorbs the cost of adult meals because it is always a good idea to encourage the adults to eat the meal as a way of modeling that behavior for the students. A school which could afford to pay for the cost of adults meals might well decide to do this.

    But if this school is as cash-strapped as most seem to be these days, and they are operating under the SBP and don't have any additional outside funding based on number of meals eaten to include adult meals, then something very wrong is going on here.

  3. mhaithaca June 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    I really like the observation that teachers eating breakfast with the kids encourages the kids to eat a healthy breakfast, and promotes the idea of everyone eating together!

  4. Kim June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    I'd frankly prefer to see the school phase out the processed items in this breakfast, i.e. the sugary flavored yogurt and the refined graham crackers. I'd rather see whole grain graham crackers and plain yogurt (lightly sweetened, if you must, with a little honey). I'd also prefer to see whole milk instead of skim. Growing kids, even overweight ones, and their developing brains need the fat and other nutrients that were stripped out of the milk. Well done regarding the banana, though I'm not thrilled about how far it likely traveled to get on that tray.

  5. Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    @Kim
    Honestly, I don't know many adults that like plain yogurt, let alone children. Maybe if they could serve it with fresh fruit (or any kind of fruit) but I don't think plain yogurt would get eaten.

  6. Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I agree on the yogurt – even the flavored kind is an acquired taste for some kids (like my daughter) who don't like that sour yogurt tang, so odds of them eating the plain stuff are pretty slim. Whole-grain graham crackers would be a much easier sell.

  7. lauren_015 June 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    @Kim, you are quite an idealist. 🙂 I'd love to live in your world, though.

  8. Kim June 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Hee hee hee! Guilty as charged, Lauren! I get it that most kids (and adults, for that matter) don't like plain yogurt but it's a pity. It's because their taste buds are screwed up from eating loads of sugar and highly processed foods. Can't you hear the adults' cries, "Don't you mess with my Yoplait and my 50-funky-ingredient Honey Nut Bunches of Fakey Flakes!" Adults don't want to hear that this stuff is bad for them. They're on processed food autopilot and they're loathe to change course.

    Kids in other countries eat plain yogurt. I noticed it in France and friends of mine have told me they've observed it in Denmark, Switzerland, and Greece. Why is that? I think it's because their parents have healthier eating habits than we do. As many readers acknowledged in response to yesterday's post, an adult modeling good eating habits in front of a child is a powerful thing.

    As for the yogurt in Mrs. Q's example today, how about a compromise, at least to get improvements started, with 1/3 less sugar and no gelatin. I'm making an assumption here that there's gelatin in this yogurt based on (1) its glossy appearance and (2) reading labels on kids' yogurt in the supermarket. The kids are sort of drinking it anyway so thinner yogurt shouldn't be a problem.

  9. ashley schoolar June 16, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    I agree that this does look more promising than some of the other breakfasts. One issue that I have a problem with – almost as much as the food itself is all of the packaging that goes with feeding kids, especially breakfast! That gives me a little bit of a nervous eye tick! (it really does). I know, weird. I really try not to buy things that have so much packaging. I know that is a 'whole other show' !! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  10. Mrs. Q June 16, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    Thanks for all your comments!! Love reading them. The packaging is excessive. It always is. Every day each classroom fills up one large black plastic bag.

  11. the rabbi's wife June 16, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Kim-Kids here in Israel eat Leben or Gil which are similar to unsweetened yoghurt. Mostly they eat it for lunch though with a cucumber and pita. Snack in the afternoon is always chocolate spread on a piece of white bread. everywhere has its own problems.
    I think that your heart is in the right place, but you need to be realistic about inner-city kids. I'd rather them get sugar-sweetened yoghurt than nothing, or a piece of candy, which is probably what they're getting at home. Let's get all the kids fed before we really start in on all the points of what they're eating.
    I used to work in one of the poorest districts in Seattle and the kids there didn't have a clue about food. I got them interested in cooking by teaching them first to make their own rice krispy treats (they didn't believe me at first that you could make your own, had only seen the packaged kind) and then taught them to scramble eggs and other healthier options.

  12. Anonymous June 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Good Day to all of you, the role of the food service program in schools should be viewed as a necessity rather than a problem. Only 25% of students eat breakfast and 75% eat lunch on a national basis. Providing breakfast in the classroom (BIC) offers an opportunity for more children to eat. It is NOT mandatory, but how many children do NOT get ANYTHING to eat at home. The other post about "something is better than nothing" has validity. Changes DO need to be made, but one step at a time. Many districts provide the BIC at "NO-COST" to all students who eat to prevent teachers collecting money or full or reduced paid students from possibly NOT eating at all. Volume of production for BIC at a school can be much more cost effective for production and labor costs which actualy make the cost of providing meals less expensive.
    ALL programs that operate under the USDA program guidlines MUST follow very strict nutritional guidlines, the menu has to be nutritionally analized following VERY strict requirements.
    And USDA does not allow whole milk to be served.

  13. Anonymous June 17, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Because the children in the pre-K program where I used to work came primarily from a low-income area, we received government grant funding for breakfast. It paid for the teachers' breakfasts, allowing the teachers (and me, as a classroom RN), to sit with the students, engage them in polite conversation and model appropriate table manners.

    We were required to take the breakfast to keep the grant funding, but what we ate was up to us. The children were required to take breakfast and try the food, but obviously, anyone who had already eaten or didn't like the offerings wasn't forced to eat.

    While the breakfasts were sugary and high calorie, many of the families couldn't afford any variety of food for their children for breakfast, so they were quite happy to receive whatever they got. Lunches were also free, and again, staff was expected to eat with the students, spread out among them at the cafeteria tables.

  14. JTN June 18, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Did the pink yogurt have 'carmine' as an ingredient? Many foods use that as a red food dye so they can claim a product is natural or has no artificial ingredients. I stopped eating most things with carmine in it after I found out it is actually an insect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine

  15. Kirsten October 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I had to comment on the funding. I worked in South Carolina for a year and we were required to give every child breakfast every day.I have a very funny feeling this was a funding thing. Most days I had less than half the kids eat. Anything that didn’t get eaten had to be thrown in the trash. The kids were not allowed, under any circumstance, to take anything home with them. I wish I had taken pictures of the 1000’s of perfectly good milks that were wasted throughout the year. It was awful. I also wish I had pictures of the prepackaged honey buns that were considered “breakfast” (500 sugar calories a pop, and some kids would sneak 3-4 of them.)

    Loving your blog. I read about you on NPR this afternoon and decided to check it out.

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