School Meals

Give kids the fuel they need to grow and learn.

About School Breakfast

State education agencies or agriculture departments typically administer the National School Breakfast Program at the state level, while local school food authorities operate it in schools.

Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for free meals, while those from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals. USDA reimburses schools for breakfasts served to students that qualify for free and reduced-price meal rates. Learn more with How School Meals Reach Kids, a No Kid Hungry resource for advocates and elected officials that traces the path of the funding that supports school breakfast and lunch from Congress to the cafeteria. It also answers common questions that advocates and elected officials have about how the programs work.

School breakfast reimbursement rates for the 2024-2025 school year are as follows:

School Breakfast Programs (SY 24-25)

Non-Severe Need

Severe Need

Contiguous States




Reduced Price










Reduced Price






Hawaii & Puerto Rico




Reduced Price






For additional information, visit the USDA’s School Breakfast Program page. 

Benefits of School Meals

How School Breakfast Benefits Kids

Kids do better when they start the day right. Research shows that the simple act of eating school breakfast can change a child’s life. Making school breakfast a seamless part of the morning by serving it after the official start of the school day can have positive impacts on classrooms.

Here are some ways school breakfast benefits kids:

  • Higher Test Scores: Hunger makes school harder. Students who eat school breakfast achieve higher scores on standardized tests. 
  • Calmer Classrooms: Children who do not regularly get enough nutritious food to eat tend to have higher levels of behavioral, emotional and educational problems. 
  • Fewer Trips To The Nurse: When kids come to school hungry, they visit the school nurse more often due to stomachaches and headaches. Kids who struggle with hunger are also likely to be sick more often, are slower to recover from illness, are hospitalized more frequently and are more susceptible to obesity.
  • Stronger Attendance & Graduation Rates: Students who eat school breakfast attend more school days. Chronic absenteeism, defined as missing three weeks or more of school, decreases by 6 percentage points on average when students have access to Breakfast After the Bell. Attendance is important, as students who attend class more regularly are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school.  

Every time we feed a child, we’re unlocking their ability to grow up to become the next future teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs.  To learn more, the Study on Chronic Absenteeism and Breakfast After the Bell is new research that shows the impact serving breakfast as part of the school day has on student outcomes.  

Engaging School Stakeholders

Breakfast After the Bell success is the result of many elements coming together to support, launch, and sustain the program. Stakeholder support within the school and district is critical. No Kid Hungry has crafted resources to engage and help educate school and district stakeholders about Breakfast After the Bell.


For All School Stakeholders

School staff are crucial, and their cooperation in the breakfast program is integral to its success. Inform and engage school stakeholders with these resources.

Learn how each Breakfast After the Bell model is structured with Innovative Breakfast Delivery Options, and find out the percentage increase your school breakfast program can experience by adopting these models.

This template letter is designed to engage school staff and provide detailed information about how a Breakfast After the Bell program would operate.

These Talking Points for Introducing Breakfast After the Bell to School Stakeholders can help you get started as you educate teachers, principals and superintendents about Breakfast After the Bell. 

The USDA has several handouts specifying what school stakeholders can do to support school breakfast:

For Principals and Teachers

These short Breakfast After the Bell 101 videos are geared towards teachers and principals and outline how Breakfast After the Bell benefits students and classrooms, as well as how to incorporate these models into the instructional day.

Breakfast After the Bell Myths shed light on the most common myths that persist about Breakfast After the Bell, including that it takes away from instructional time and that it causes messes in the classroom. In actuality, teachers report that Breakfast After the Bell increases instructional time because kids are able to focus and participate, as opposed to being distracted by hunger. Additionally, when a robust clean-up plan is put in place, classroom messes are a rarity. 

One big piece of the puzzle for school district administration and education stakeholders is how school breakfast gets funded. The school nutrition budget, which funds all school meals programs, is separate from the school district general fund. Therefore, the school breakfast program does not compete for the same resources that teachers and classrooms do. This educator's guide to school breakfast funding illuminates how the funding that supports school breakfast and lunch makes its way from Congress to the cafeteria. It also answers common questions that educators have about how the school meals programs work.

For Teachers

  • Breakfast in the Classroom Pacing Guide: This guide is designed to support educators by illuminating the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) process, from understanding the importance of breakfast to preparing students for BIC. This resource offers clearly detailed steps, helpful timelines, and beneficial resources to help make BIC a success.
  • Teacher Guide – Classroom Set Up and Clean Up: This resource outlines how classrooms can be affected by Breakfast After the Bell and shares best practices on how to create a plan for classroom set up and clean up where breakfast is served or eaten.
  • We Are Teachers is an online community for educators committed to one of the toughest, most rewarding jobs out there.

For School Nutrition Staff

School nutrition staff work on the front lines, preparing and serving meals to students. Building relationships with school nutrition staff is vital to expanding access to school meals through initiatives that maximize student participation, like Breakfast After the Bell.

It is important to understand who makes up the school nutrition team and the general roles and responsibilities within the school nutrition program. This guide to building relationships with school nutrition staff is intended to help you decide when to approach school nutrition staff and which members of the staff to approach.

Engaging Families

School meals can be a lifeline for families, and caregivers can be powerful champions for your breakfast program, especially when they understand how it benefits their kids and the student body. These resources can help educate caregivers about the school breakfast program and how it can be a win win for students and families.

Free and reduced price (FRP) meals can relieve some of the financial struggles school meals place upon families. In order to receive FRP meals, families must apply through their school. Many families are not aware of this, and also have no idea that with the FRP application comes the possibility of benefits beyond just FRP meals. For instance, some states offer discounted internet services, housing services, and discounted college application fees. Each state is different in terms of the benefits they offer to families. Outreach about FRP meal applications can be helpful to inform families about these benefits, and improve submission rates of FRP applications. No Kid Hungry's School Meals Application Outreach Toolkit streamlines the outreach process for schools by providing guidance about communication to families, outreach examples from other districts, and customizable fliers, social media posts and graphics in English and Spanish to connect with families.

It is important to inform parents about the Breakfast After the Bell program before it launches and engages them in the process. Use PTA meetings, Back to School nights and other venues to talk to parents about the importance of breakfast and how the Breakfast After the Bell program will work.

No Kid Hungry’s Breakfast FAQs for Parents is a customizable resource that answers those frequently asked questions that school nutrition directors and principals get from parents regarding Breakfast After the Bell.

This template letter can be customized by schools to inform families about a new Breakfast in the Classroom program:

Use these breakfast flyers and posters to add more visibility to your program:

Engaging Students

Students are the customers of Breakfast After the Bell programs and should be treated as such. Schools should inform students about changes to the school breakfast program in advance of the launch date and, if necessary, provide training.

Breakfast After the Bell Strategies for Middle and High Schools shares the best practices that schools from across the country have used to increase their middle and high school breakfast participation. Tactics such as engaging students in the planning process, soliciting student feedback and offering Second Chance Breakfast have shown success in getting more middle and high school students to eat school breakfast.

Marketing is an essential component to increasing school breakfast participation. Getting the word out about school breakfast helps to ensure that more kids start the day with the fuel they need to learn, grow and thrive. School Breakfast Promotion Strategies highlight ways that you can build awareness, generate excitement and ultimately increase school breakfast participation. 

Visual reminders, such as posters displayed around the school, can help nudge students to participate in the breakfast program. 

Engaging Community

Engaging the community is also important because the positive effects of school breakfast extend well beyond the school walls.

The local newspaper can be an effective way to reach out to the community about the value and impact of school breakfast. Here are some tips and best practices to ensure your letter or op-ed piece will convey the right message to the community while meeting the newspaper’s needs and standards.

These "Food for Thought" No Kid Hungry social media graphics provide schools with sample Facebook and Twitter graphics to add to posts and tweets:

  • It's not an Egg. It's an Escape
  • It's not Oatmeal. It's an Opening.
  • It's not an Orange. It's Opportunity
Barriers to Kids Eating Breakfast

Despite the benefits of school breakfast, the program is underutilized – over 22 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day, yet only 12 million of those kids get free or reduced-price school breakfast. 

Traditional school breakfast programs often have barriers that prohibit students from eating breakfast before school, such as: 

  • Transportation: The school bus doesn’t arrive in time for kids to get breakfast in the cafeteria.
  • Busy mornings: Regardless of their socioeconomic status, many families are rushed in the morning and don’t always have time for breakfast at home.
  • Stigma: There is often a stigma associated with eating breakfast in the cafeteria before school starts; therefore, children avoid it, especially middle- and high-school students, for whom social status and the perceptions of their peers loom large. 
  • Lack of resources: For low-income families, there simply may not always be enough food at home for kids to have a healthy breakfast.

Across the country, educators, parents and community leaders are removing these barriers for kids by implementing Breakfast After the Bell programs. Because each school is unique, schools often create their own individualized Breakfast After the Bell programs that combine elements of multiple models so they can fully cater to the needs of their students and staff.

Three Effective Approaches to Breakfast After the Bell

Breakfast After the Bell (BAB) can look many different ways. No Kid Hungry has found that the most effective  BAB models are Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go to the Classroom and Second Chance Breakfast.

Breakfast in the Classroom

Students eat breakfast in their classroom after the official start of the school day. Students or staff deliver breakfasts to classrooms from the cafeteria via coolers or insulated rolling bags. Breakfast in the Classroom takes 15 minutes on average. Schools reach 88 percent breakfast participation on average with this model.*

Grab and Go

Students pick up conveniently packaged breakfasts from mobile service carts in high traffic areas that are convenient to students, such as hallways, entryways or cafeterias. Students can eat in their classroom or in a common area before and after the bell has rung. Schools reach 59 percent breakfast participation on average with this model.*

Second Chance Breakfast

Students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often between first and second period or midway between breakfast and lunch. Schools can serve breakfast using a Grab and Go model, or they can open the cafeteria to serve breakfast during the break. Second Chance Breakfast can be effective for middle or high school students who may not be hungry first thing in the morning or prefer to socialize with friends. Schools reach 58 percent breakfast participation on average with this model.*

* Participation is measured by the average daily participation of free- and reduced-price school breakfast eaters / average daily participation free- and reduced-price school lunch eaters.

Universal Breakfast

Additionally, universal breakfast is a helpful addition to any breakfast model, as it removes the financial barriers students may face when participating in the National School Breakfast Program. Universal breakfast is when breakfast is offered to all students at no cost. Schools continue to claim federal reimbursement in the correct category for any student participating in the breakfast program. Offering breakfast at no cost generally increases breakfast participation, and removes stigma lower-income students often face when they eat breakfast at school. Schools can enroll in a few federal programs to assist with offering universal breakfast, including the Community Eligibility Provision and Provision 2. To compare these two options for providing universal free school meals, check out our resource: Providing Universal Free School Meals.

Implementing a Successful Program

How you implement a Breakfast After the Bell program can have a big impact on participation. There may be initial challenges, but with thorough planning, regular feedback from stakeholders, and adaptability, schools can create successful sustainable programs. 

Checklists for Getting Ready

The following tools have been created for school nutrition directors and administrators to identify key aspects of the preparation process, including the need to identify necessary equipment for your Breakfast After the Bell Program, utilizing stakeholders in the school for planning assistance and developing an implementation timeline.

USDA’s Breakfast Method Fact Sheet can be a helpful guide in choosing a breakfast model. Below, No Kid Hungry's Key's to Success Model Guide, can also help you choose which Breakfast After the Bell model best suits your school.

No Kid Hungry’s Keys to Success Model Guide

Breakfast in the Classroom

  • Offer students leadership roles delivering food to the classroom and returning cafeteria equipment after breakfast service.
  • Integrate breakfast with instructional time
  • Promote the program to students and parents
  • Involve teachers in the planning process.

Grab and Go (GNG) to the Classroom

  • Place portable carts, crates, tables, etc. in high-trafficked areas.
  • Solicit feedback from students: Marketing is an essential component to increasing school breakfast participation. School Breakfast Promotion Strategies highlights promotion strategies-- like contests & challenges, social media, posters & flyers, taste tests, special guests and more-- to build awareness, generate excitement and ultimately increase school breakfast participation.
  • Obtain POS system for payment.
  • Involve teachers in the planning process.
  • Consult No Kid Hungry's GNG Tips resource.

Second Chance Breakfast

  • Use in schools where students are not hungry first thing in the morning (middle or high schools).
  • Obtain POS system to track student participation.
  • Execute this model via:
    • Grab and Go to the Classroom,
    • Re-open cafeteria and give students at least 10 minutes to eat, or
    • Whatever works best for your school!

No Kid Hungry’s Pre-Implementation Checklist is a mapped out list of action steps schools can take to prepare for BAB implementation, from creating a school breakfast team to connecting with schools that have already implemented BAB to learn from their experiences.

No Kid Hungry’s Breakfast After the Bell Rollout Timelines outline action steps school stakeholders can take to help prepare for the launch of Breakfast After the Bell. The rollout timelines span both long-term action steps and short-term action steps -- starting at 8 weeks before implementation and counting down each week until launch:

This Equipment Tip Sheet from No Kid Hungry may also provide helpful guidance as schools assess their equipment needs.

USDA has multiple resources that schools can use to determine how expanding school breakfast will affect the revenue, variable costs versus fixed costs and overall operation of breakfast.

Plan the Menu

Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab and Go to the Classroom will need to have easily transportable food items that are healthy and appealing to students.


  • The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Smart Food Planner has recipes and four-week cycle menus that can be useful for food service directors to use in their districts.
  • USDA’s Nutrition and Menu Planning Resources provide menu ideas, nutrition basics and suggested resources for additional assistance with breakfast menu planning.


Soliciting student feedback for the school breakfast program can increase student buy-in for the program, as well as create a more sustainable Breakfast After the Bell program. Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom’s In-Depth Survey Toolkit provides survey ideas and templates.

Train Staff

Train staff who will be directly affected by the change in breakfast, including cafeteria staff, teachers and custodians. Appropriate training enables teachers and food service staff to have the necessary support they need during the start-up phase of implementation and ensures program integrity. As the implementation process rolls out, additional training may be necessary.

Teachers will benefit from this Classroom Set Up and Clean Up guide, which informs them about how Breakfast After the Bell affects their classroom and provides guidance on how they can create a morning routine that works for them. 

Focus on Meal Quality

Meal quality is an integral component of any meal program. It can mean many different things, including serving culturally appropriate foods, offering a hot meal on cold days, and making sure the appearance of the meals are appealing to students. Meal Quality: Adaptability, Creativity and Fun shares promising practices from school nutrition teams across the nation that have utilized their creativity and ingenuity to master meal quality, such as how to focus on customer service and create an inclusive meals program, the importance of promoting your meals program, and how to stay inspired and keep the menu varied. 

Reduce Food Waste

Reducing food waste is important to students, parents, educators and food service staff alike. Strategies to Reduce Food Waste in Schools & Child Nutrition Programs highlights some of the most effective strategies to help reduce, recover and recycle food waste from school meals. For example, incorporating strategies such as scheduling recess before lunch, giving students enough time to eat school meals so they aren't rushed, and donating surplus food can make a big difference in reducing the amount of food that is thrown away each year.

Improve Participation

High breakfast participation is the result of many different aspects of the breakfast program running smoothly, from the logistics of the program to gaining buy-in from the student body. These resources highlight how to increase breakfast participation.

Grab and Go to the Classroom: Successful Grab and Go programs serve meals from convenient, high-traffic areas of the school and allow students to eat them in the classroom after the official start of the school day. Check out these tips for implementing an effective Grab and Go program to make sure that your school’s program reaches the most students possible.

Communications and Nudges: Spend adequate time promoting the new breakfast program, as stakeholders may need several rounds of messaging to understand the logistics of the new program or the impact expanding school breakfast will have on them. For students in particular, once the new program has been implemented, they may need reminders that school breakfast is available to them in a new way. No Kid Hungry Breakfast Nudges outlines how the subtle act of asking students if they’ve had breakfast that morning can increase participation.

Middle and High Schools: Breakfast After the Bell Strategies for Middle and High Schools shares the best practices that schools from across the country have used to increase their middle and high school breakfast participation. Tactics such as engaging students in the planning process, soliciting student feedback and offering Second Chance Breakfast have shown success in getting more middle and high school students to eat school breakfast.

Provide Universal Free School Meals: Removing the financial barrier of breakfast increases participation. Providing Universal Free School Meals offers a comparison of three options for offering students school meals at no cost to them: the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), Provision 2, and non-pricing.

Best Practices to Operate BAB without Universal Meals: Best Practices to Operate BAB without Universal Meals offers techniques you can apply to your BAB program to ensure smooth operations while boosting breakfast participation.

Combining School Meal Programs

Any school can be a hunger-free school by combining federal nutrition programs with strong communications, customer feedback, and inclusive menus. In this resource explore the following programs, strategies, resources, and communications to help you create a year-round meal program that best serves your community.

Resource: How to Combine Nutrition Programs to Become A Hunger Free School


Meal Quality

Meal quality is an integral component of any meal program. It can mean many different things, including serving culturally appropriate foods, offering a hot meal on cold days, and making sure the appearance of the meals are appealing to students. This resources shares a variety of promising practices on meal quality, such as:

  1. Focusing on customer service and inclusivity,
  2. Promoting your meals program,
  3. Making the most of take-home meals,
  4. Keeping the menu varied and staying inspired, and 
  5. Having a positive attitude and making it fun!

Students and their families are the most important stakeholders in school nutrition programs. These conversation starters can be used to guide conversations with school nutrition staff to:

  1. identify barriers that students and their families may face in accessing school meals, and
  2. generate ideas for engaging students and families as partners in designing more equitable meals programs.
Learn Why Nutrition Hubs are a Business Savvy Strategy

School nutrition professionals are dedicated to feeding children. Many also run multi-million dollar school nutrition operations. Across the country, many school nutrition programs are successfully doing both, while navigating tight budgets and rigorous regulations. Their key to combating child hunger and operating a financially solvent business is to become a nutrition hub.

Schools operating as Nutrition Hubs help children access the nutrition they need throughout the year by operating all available federal child nutrition programs—school breakfast, lunch, afterschool and summer meals. This strategy also provides school nutrition departments with a financial management solution: increasing revenue, optimizing staff time and maximizing operational efficiencies.

Our Schools as Nutrition Hubs: The Business Savvy Strategy to Reduce Childhood Hunger Brief and Schools as Nutrition Hubs: The Business Savvy Strategy to Reduce Childhood Hunger Report, developed in partnership with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), highlight the benefits and strategies of operating School Nutrition Hubs from successful school nutrition professionals. Watch this Make Your School a Nutrition Hub video to hear testimonials directly from school nutrition directors who have successfully implemented Nutrition Hubs models.

SNF and No Kid Hungry have also developed a series of resources to help school nutrition directors evaluate and act on opportunities to expand federal nutrition programs within their districts. These tools are meant to be utilized during a School Nutrition Hubs training session. However, other school nutrition directors may find them useful for improving and expanding their programs.

Reduce the Red Tape of Serving School Meals with the Community Eligibility Provision

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) makes it easier for high need schools to serve free meals - both breakfast and lunch - to all students by removing the need for schools to collect paper applications. CEP benefits students and schools. It helps schools reduce administrative costs related to collecting and processing applications, tracking students based on meal eligibility status and addressing unpaid meals. It also helps students because families no longer have to complete meal applications and it can reduce stigma because all students are eating meals at no cost, regardless of their income status. CEP can help facilitate schools efforts to become effective nutrition hubs for students.

Use the searchable Community Eligibility Database to determine which schools are available in your state and district.  The USDA resource Perceived Barriers to CEP Implementation and Webinar: Making “Cents” of CEP at a 40-50% ISP can help you address challenges and successfully adopt CEP at your school or district. 

Ensure Kids Get a Meal After the School Day Ends

In a national survey, 25 percent of low-income parents worried that their kids did not get enough to eat between lunch at school and breakfast the next day. The Child and Adult Care Food Program’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program can ensure your students get the nourishment they need after school, while improving your bottom line.

Our Three Meals a Day guide provides information, tips and ideas based on interviews conducted with ten school nutrition directors from across the country. This Supper Makes Cents flyer presents an overview of the afterschool meals program, its benefits and the financial benefits. Both resources can help you think through implementing an afterschool meals program at your school.

Serve Summer Meals at Your School or in the Community

Summer is a critical time for children’s academic and physical well-being. During the summer, children are at a higher risk of both obesity and hunger. Summer meals programs, which include the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option, provide free summer meals and are an important source of nutritious food for children age 18 and under during this time.

Schools are an ideal place to host summer meals sites, and districts make strong sponsors. Families trust programs held at schools and schools have the infrastructure and expertise in food service management to operate successful programs. The Summer Meals Sponsor Planning Guide and Summer Meals Calculator will help you develop a plan for implementing a summer meals program.


High School Breakfast Success

High School Breakfast Success: Watch and learn from this high school at Galena Park ISD in Texas on how they use a three-pronged approach to breakfast. By offering students the option of traditional cafeteria breakfast, grab and go, and second chance breakfast, the high school went from feeding around 200 students breakfast every morning to approximately 800 students. 

Elementary School Breakfast Success

Elementary School Breakfast Success: Hear from teachers, students, and the principal of Longfellow Elementary in Wisconsin on how a simple Grab and Go program provided a calmer classroom experience, higher attendance rates, and more of a community environment. By switching from traditional cafeteria breakfast, Longfellow went from serving 80 kids breakfast every morning to roughly 200 kids per day.

The Impact of Breakfast After the Bell

One of the most effective ways to significantly boost school breakfast participation is to make it part of the school day, serving Breakfast After the Bell. Breakfast After the Bell can have positive benefits on children's educational and health outcomes.

Schools are one of the most effective ways we can help vulnerable children in the United States, from providing the lasting power of education to meals and necessary social services. Schools can only help students, however, if they show up.  Nearly 8 million students are missing at least three weeks of the school year, making them chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism can lead reduced student achievement, an increased likelihood of dropping out and a greater risk of becoming unemployed adults.

The No Kid Hungry campaign commissioned a study examining whether serving breakfast after the bell as a regular part of the school day can reduce chronic absenteeism.   The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara, included an analysis of state-level and national data.  

  • A Study on Chronic Absenteeism and Breakfast After the Bell has two resources: 
    • The Microreport is a four-page brochure that provides a snapshot of the University of California Santa Barbara's study.  The study found that Breakfast After the Bell can reduce chronic absenteeism by an average of 6 percentage points.  
    • The Research Brief provides a detailed summary of the University of California Santa Barbara's study.  This brief is geared towards those who wish to dive more deeply into the research.

The simple act of feeding kids a healthy school breakfast can be associated with dramatic impacts, including positive outcomes in education and well-being.   A report by Deloitte also found that schools that serve Breakfast After the Bell have higher breakfast participation, lower absenteeism and improved test scores.  Better performance and attendance at school can lead to greater job-readiness and self-sufficiency after high school.

Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis is the full report from Deloitte's analysis that demonstrates the potential long-term impact of the school breakfast program.

Educators’ Perspectives on School Breakfast

Educators can play a critical role in implementing and supporting Breakfast After the Bell programs.  Research shows that educators see hunger as a serious issue, acknowledge the importance of breakfast and support Breakfast After the Bell.

Educators have first-hand knowledge of the challenges their students face, including a lack of adequate food, and often have a front-row seat to seeing improvements in students who do eat a healthy breakfast.   Educators across the country report children coming to school hungry and acknowledge the importance of breakfast.  Educators support Breakfast After the Bell and see the benefits it can have on children. 

  • Hunger in Our Schools 2017 showcases the voices and perspectives of educators across the country and documents the hunger they see in their classrooms. Three-quarters of school teachers say students regularly come to school hungry and that this negatively impacts their students and classroom. Teachers who implemented breakfast in the classroom report a positive effect on student behavior and readiness to learn.
  • NYC Teacher Survey Summary Memo reports that two-thirds of NYC teachers say students coming to class hungry is a major problem at their school. Nearly nine in ten teachers say breakfast is important for students’ academic achievement. Recognizing the tremendous impact that breakfast could have on student health and academic achievement, eight in ten teachers support having breakfast in the classroom in their schools.

IL Teacher Survey Microreport shows that three in four public school teachers in Illinois see children come hungry to school at least once a month and say that without breakfast, children’s academic performance and health suffer. Two-thirds of teachers overwhelmingly support school-provided breakfast in the classroom as a solution to child hunger, and three-quarters of teachers who currently participate in the program say it has been a positive experience.

Parents’ Perspectives on School Breakfast

Understanding parents' perspectives can shed light on the need for school breakfast and effective ways to promote the program.   

Parents recognize the importance of a healthy breakfast. Gathering parent perspectives on how to market the school breakfast program can boost participation.   

  • NYC School Focus Group Findings: Advocacy Case Study provides a summary of the results from a school breakfast focus group with New York City parents.   Parents provided their feedback on what would make children more likely to participate.
  • NYC School Focus Groups Lessons Learned: This two-page document identifies key takeaways from focus groups with parents about the best ways to market school breakfast, including what information would be helpful for parents, the precise language that parents respond to and the preferred channels for communication.
What Do Teens Really Think about School Meals?

When teens don’t get enough to eat, this not only impacts their academic performance and reduces their chances of graduation, but it also affects their overall physical, social and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that youth thrive when they eat school and community meals, but there’s a participation gap among teens compared with younger children. There’s also a tendency to focus more on elementary-aged students when it comes to improving the school meals experience. At No Kid Hungry, we recognize the importance of tackling hunger from a variety of perspectives in order to ensure that all young people receive the benefits of child nutrition programs. That’s why we need teenagers to take part in the conversation.

In May 2022, with the support and expertise of FM3 Research, we found out what middle and high school students think about school and community meals by interviewing 1,000 teens across the U.S.

Our goal was threefold—(1) to better gauge teens’ perceptions of school and community meals; (2) to determine if and how schools are working with teens to improve these programs; and (3) to find out how much teens want to be engaged in improving the school and community meals experience.