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Put Breakfast into Your Schedule
February 29, 2012
NEWS FLASH: According to an independent survey, almost 50% of students do not eat breakfast before school! There are several reasons that can be given for this—all of them understandable—getting up too late, preferring to play with friends, and for some--lack of resources. The results, however, are unacceptable—these include difficulty concentrating, low energy, increased visits to the school nurse and increased absenteeism.
Albuquerque Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services participates in “Breakfast after the Bell.” This is a legislative program that ensures students have time to ”fuel up” once they are at school in every school that has an 85% rate of free and reduced meals. The results have been enlightening! Teachers have witnessed that students have increased attention spans and show more interest and engagement in subjects taught. There are fewer visits to the school nurse. Absenteeism has dropped.
Another student benefit derived from “Breakfast after the Bell,” is increased play time (physical activity), and a sense of community from sharing a meal with your teacher and classmates. In addition, using this time for instruction about the foods they are eating may help students understand a little more about making healthy food choices and the importance of nutrition in their health and well-being for the remainder of their lives.
Because of the new legislation APS Food & Nutrition Services now provides breakfast to over 26,000 students—up from 13,000 last year. We anticipate the results will be as predicted, and that we will have more schools wanting to implement Breakfast in the Classroom or a variation of the program that will allow students to eat once they get to school.
Breakfasts served include skim milk or 1% milk, fresh fruit or juice, and either 2 servings of whole grain products or 1 serving of whole grain products and 1 serving of a meat or meat alternate. They meet the federal guidelines for school breakfast and provide 25% of a students’ daily nutritional requirements. Breakfast and lunch menus can be viewed on line at aps.edu under Food & Nutrition Services.
APS is focusing on National Breakfast Week March 5 through 9 by beginning the “Breakfast Buzz.” This is a full month of daily descriptions and information about different fruits and vegetables featured throughout the year. Students will have a chance to identify these fruits and vegetables using reading, memory and research skills to win prizes. This contest will be the perfect opportunity for nutrition discussions. The prizes will include 12 bicycles with helmets to be given in a random drawing of all participants in the breakfast program at the elementary level. Stay tuned to aps.edu to learn about the winners at the end of March, 2012!