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Nebraska Kids Share their Love of School Breakfast

For some kids, a school breakfast is their only opportunity to have a complete, nutritious meal. (USDA)
For some kids, a school breakfast is their only opportunity to have a complete, nutritious meal. (USDA)
March 5, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. - The most important meal of the day is being celebrated at schools across Nebraska during this National School Breakfast Week.

Each day, more than 76,000 students in the state get a healthy, nutritious meal before they start their day through the federal School Breakfast Program. According to Eric Savaiano, a program associate with the group Nebraska Appleseed, for some kids, school breakfast and lunch are their only opportunities to have a complete, healthy meal.

"There's poverty all over Nebraska," he said. "It's sometimes hidden poverty. It's in rural, urban and suburban areas, and the School Breakfast Program can really help alleviate some of those problems that come from being hungry."

Savaiano said a nutritious school breakfast can help improve students' behavior and academic performance, as well as their diet.

The theme of this year's National School Breakfast Week is "I Heart School Breakfast" - and students, parents and educators are encouraged to show their love for the program on social media.

Nebraska ranks near the bottom on the list of states for school breakfast participation. So, Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, said many districts are looking for ways to make the meals more accessible.

"It can sometimes be hard for kids coming off the bus to get to the cafeteria in time for school breakfast," she said. "So, many schools are offering unique serving options. They're setting up grab-and-go kiosks or they're offering breakfast in the classroom."

Pratt-Heavner said that the meals served at school meet federal nutrition standards that limit fat, calories and sodium. She said many school cafeterias are serving fun options that include a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

"We're seeing yogurt parfaits and smoothies in the mornings," she said. "Schools are also trying to incorporate more protein choices on school breakfast menus, because protein can help keep a child satiated throughout the school day."

Related data is online at frac.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE