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SNA’s 2013 Back to School Trends Report Finds More Students Will Have Access to Healthy School Breakfasts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
301-686-3124 Ext.
media@schoolnutrition.org

SNA’s 2013 Back to School Trends Report Finds More Students Will Have Access to Healthy School Breakfasts 

Schools expanding grab-and-go and breakfast in the classroom as school breakfast programs meet new nutrition standards this fall

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (August 21, 2013) – As students head back to school, more will have access to a healthy school breakfast thanks to an increase in innovative programs including Grab-and-Go, Breakfast in the Classroom and Second Chance Breakfast programs.

School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 2013 Back to School Trends Report reveals that the significant nationwide growth in School Breakfast Program participation is being fueled primarily by large school districts utilizing alternative delivery models to reach students who wouldn’t otherwise have time to eat breakfast through traditional cafeteria service.  Tight school bus timetables, late student arrivals and early class schedules can limit participation in traditional cafeteria breakfast programs.  

This expansion of the School Breakfast Program occurs as schools are required to meet new nutrition standards for school breakfast.  Starting this year, half of all grains served with school breakfast must be whole grain rich, and meals must meet new calorie ranges and limits on trans-fat.  School cafeterias are also working toward 2014-15 school year requirements for larger portions of fruits/vegetables offered with each school breakfast.

According to USDA data, over the last year, breakfast ADP (Average Daily Participation) has increased nationally from 12.81 million students to 13.15 million students, a 2.59% increase.  SNA’s survey found that about one-quarter (25.2%) of school districts offering breakfast say they plan to add to or expand their breakfast service in the 2013-14 school year, even as school meal programs are tasked to meet new standards.  Expansion plans are more common among the largest districts (serving 25,000+ students), with 46.3% planning to expand breakfast service.  

Of the school districts planning to expand their breakfast programs: 

  • 69% will increase grab-and-go options which allow students to quickly pick up their meal in the cafeteria, at a hallway kiosk, or as they enter the school building, and eat the meal in the classroom or on their way to class.  
  • 46.8% plan to expand breakfast in the classroom, which allows students to eat breakfast at their desks, usually during morning announcements.  Breakfast may be delivered directly to the classroom, or students may bring their grab-and-go meals to the classroom to eat.
  • 23.8% will increase second chance breakfast, which allows students to receive breakfast after first period.  

Research suggests that school breakfast participation improves the academic, health and economic futures of America’s students.  “School nutrition professionals want to ensure students have the nutrition they need to succeed, so they are thinking outside of the box and working within their school communities to make sure every student has access to a healthy school breakfast,” said Leah Schmidt, SNS, School Nutrition Association President and Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Hickman Mills C-1 School District (Missouri).  

“By providing options ranging from school breakfast vending machines and kiosks located at the school doors to breakfast delivered and served in the classroom, school meal programs are making it easy for students to choose the healthy options available with school breakfast,” said Schmidt.

The 2013 Back to School Trends Survey, the 13th in this survey series, was distributed as an online form in June/July 2013.  The survey netted 521 responses from school nutrition district directors.  

Media seeking more information on SNA’s 2013 Back to School Trends Report may contact Diane Pratt-Heavner at 301-686-3124, media@schoolnutrition.org.  

SNA members wishing to view the report, click here.

The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students.  SNA’s website for parents, www.TrayTalk.org, features school nutrition success stories from across the country.

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