University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Think outside the cafeteria for school breakfast

Breakfast foods collage

School breakfast may not get as much attention as lunch, but it certainly deserves the love!

Breakfast can be more than just a morning meal. Students who start the day with a good breakfast can reap other benefits, including:

  • Better academic performance
  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Fewer behavioral issues in the classroom and at home

With hectic schedules, many students come to school hungry. That’s where school nutrition heroes come in!

Traditional cafeteria breakfast programs are always an option, but alternative service models are a great addition if you have the capacity.

*Breakfast in the classroom (AFTER 1st bell)

Insulated bags with hot and/or cold options dropped off at classrooms in the morning. Students eat breakfast together at their tables or desks, and teachers can do morning announcements or other housekeeping tasks before learning begins.

*Grab and go (BEFORE or AFTER 1st bell)

Students can pick up pre-bagged breakfasts or choose items to complete a reimbursable breakfast. They can eat on the way to class, in the classroom, or in designated eating areas.  

*Second chance (AFTER 1st bell)

Breakfast is served during a break or passing period. It can be similar to grab and go or breakfast in the classroom. It can even be a second round of breakfast served in the cafeteria (for schools where older students may have a free period).

In future posts, we will go over more of the ins and outs of these options. In the meantime, check out these resources to learn more:

  1. Food Research & Action Center – Benefits of School Breakfast
  2. Rise & Shine Illinois – Breakfast After the Bell
  3. USDA - School Breakfast Toolkit