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School Breakfast Report Ranks Idaho 16th

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014   

BOISE, Idaho - Idaho is doing a better job than most of the nation when it comes to getting a nutritious breakfast into the hands of low-income students, according to the School Breakfast Scorecard released today by the Food Research and Action Center.

The state is ranked 16th, and the Boise School District is ranked first among 63 districts studied. Boise District food and nutrition services supervisor Peggy Bodnar said they work hard to be creative in offering foods they know kids like - often modeled after fast foods.

"So, we make an egg and cheese and sausage sandwich, but we're using turkey sausage," she said. "Make them appealing for kids, as well as keep them nutritious."

The scorecard examined how many students receiving free or reduced-price lunches also were being served breakfast. Fifty-five percent of Idaho students receiving the lunches also participate in breakfast. The goal is to bump that to 70 percent.

FRAC president Jim Weill said timing also counts in making sure children eat school breakfast, and it takes flexibility.

"Like serving breakfast after the bell, bringing it in from the cafeteria, or - for older kids - off carts in the hallways," he said. "Offering it free to all students, rather than having a stigmatizing means test."

Nationally, the number of low-income students participating in school breakfast increased last school year. Bodnar said there's great interest around Idaho from other districts because a nutritious breakfast is connected to better test scores, better behavior and improved attendance.

The scorecard is online at frac.org.


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