It’s International School Meals Day so we thought we’d shine a spotlight on how eating breakfast helps kids at school. Many students are fortunate enough to have food on the table for them at home but some of their peers often come to school hungry. Many school communities step up for these kids, providing programs such as breakfast clubs to feed these children and set them up for the day at school.
There’s a reason why the experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast provides your body an energy boost after fasting all night and that energy source can last all day if your body needs it to. Consuming breakfast has also been proven to enhance memory and concentration throughout the day, as well as improving maths and English skills. Hence, it’s important for our cherubs to have full tummies when they come into class!
It can break your heart seeing students struggle in class because they haven’t been able to eat breakfast. If there are a number of kids at your school in this situation, it may be worth implementing a breakfast program.
Some of the best breakfast meals include fresh fruits, yoghurt, eggs and wholegrain cereals. These types of meals can be a bit pricey to run for a school breakfast program, but there are some alternatives.
- Wholegrain toast with vegemite or jam.
- Orange quarters.
- Low-cost, healthy cereals such as Weet-Bix. Consider purchasing home brands where possible.
While the costs of these items can add up, there are a couple of ways to reduce the costs of running a breakfast program.
1. Reach out to your local suppliers
You might find that many of your local producers are willing to step in and help out with supplying food to your breakfast program. For example, some bakeries are willing to donate bread to schools if you ask. You could make similar requests to your local greengrocer for fruit products and supermarkets for cereals and milk products. Once you establish relationships with your local suppliers, it becomes easier to source these products, you just need to take the first step!
2. Reach out to Foodbank
Foodbank is a hunger relief organisation which runs the school breakfast programs in many states across Australia. The organisation provides food for these breakfast clubs, helping disadvantaged kids to improve their ability to learn at school. To have Foodbank help out at your school, simply fill in an application form on the organisation’s website. There may also be other local organisations and providers who can cater for school breakfast programs. For example, the YMCA offers a breakfast program at Lake Haven and at Monaro High School. There may be other organisations in your local area which can help you to implement a school breakfast program.
If you feel there is a need to start a breakfast club or similar program at your school to help out your disadvantaged students, make sure you have the support of your school community. It is vital senior members of staff, such as the Principal, Deputy Principals and the P&C are on board with your idea. Be prepared to pitch them well thought out ideas such as what foods you will provide, how often you will run the program, who is eligible to participate and explain to them exactly how breakfast helps kids at school. Once the program is in place, you can enjoy watching your cherubs engage and participate well in class with a full belly!