Frequently Asked Questions About Breakfast in the Classroom

Q. I’m interested in starting breakfast in the classroom at my school. Where do I begin?

A. Start by contacting your school food service director or cafeteria manager, and tell them you are interested in breakfast in the classroom. They are responsible for operating the School Breakfast Program and will be the key contact for developing a way to serve breakfast in the classroom. If you are a school food service director who is interested in starting breakfast in the classroom, your first step is to build support within the school community, starting with teachers, school support staff, principals, and custodial stuff. A good way to build support is by showing a video on breakfast in the classroom:

NYC SchoolFood Breakfast in the Classroom Video
San Diego Unified School District Breakfast in the Classroom Video

Q. I would like to serve universal breakfast in the classroom – all students at no charge, regardless of whether they qualify for free or reduced price meals. How can this be financially viable for my school?

A. As a general rule, schools with 80 percent or more free or reduced-price eligible students can serve universal breakfast in the classroom and cover their costs through economies of scale. However, some schools with lower percentages of free and reduced-price eligible students can operate a universal classroom breakfast program that is financially self sustaining, depending on what their costs are (labor, food, etc.). Download this Excel file worksheet developed by the Dairy Council to help schools determine the viability of running this type of program.

Q. Does the entire school or school district need to do breakfast in the classroom?

A. Except for school districts where breakfast in the classroom has been mandated, there is no rule that precludes serving breakfast in the classroom in only certain schools in a district, or certain classrooms in a school. However, to achieve the best results, breakfast in the classroom programs should be implemented on a district-wide or school-wide basis, rather than in a few classrooms or grade levels.

Q. Does a school district need additional funding to start a breakfast in the classroom program?

A. Schools and school districts across the country have been moving breakfast into the classroom, often without additional funding. However, some districts pursue grant funding to help cover start-up costs. Click here for a list of school breakfast expansion grant resources (pdf).

Q. Is there research that supports breakfast in the classroom?

A. Yes, research has been done on breakfast in the classroom that shows that children who participate are less likely to be absent, have fewer visits to the school nurse, and are less likely to be overweight. They eat more fruit, drink more milk and consume a wider variety of foods.  Click here for a bibliography of research (pdf).