Let’s get back to basics. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Growing up, we’ve all heard this adage one time or another and seen many commercials with our favorite hero on a box of cereal encouraging us to eat breakfast. It’s worth saying again and again because breakfast means so much more than a quick bite in the morning. A well-balanced breakfast or lack of one can actually make a difference in how well a child performs at school. According to the Food Research and Action Center’s School Breakfast Scorecard, children who don’t have breakfast or experience hunger may have slower memory recall, trouble with visual images, behavioral issues and lower math scores. Young students who are underfed and undernourished have reduced cognitive functioning when they don’t receive breakfast. With our hectic morning schedules leaving less time and more students facing food insecurity, this means more missed breakfast meals and in many cases, lost academic potential.
This is an area I’m so passionate about that has come full circle and that’s improving the quality of life for K-12 students. We are focused on delivering nutrient-dense meals like breakfast and supporting optimal learning environments. School breakfast programs help fill the morning hunger gap and get more kids receiving vital nutrients to start their day. We want to increase the number of kids getting breakfast by implementing new solutions like Breakfast After the Bell, and by learning from nonprofit leaders like Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Fueled by consistent access to nutritious food, children who learn, play and thrive are more likely to achieve the education, health and employment necessary for a stable future. This belief is shared by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, where I also serve as a board member.
Behind the scenes of these important school breakfast and meal programs are the hearts, minds and hands of the food and support services employees, teachers, principals, school administrators, nutrition directors, dietitians and volunteers who all work together to bring breakfast wherever kids are – from the cafeteria to the classroom. Breakfast gives the opportunity for kids to get the key nutritional fuel they need to fulfill their potential and for many of us, the opportunity to support those kids achieve through proper nutrition. Thank you to those who understand what a difference breakfast can make.