AUSTIN, TEXAS (TIP): More kids across the state and the country are starting the day with a healthy meal, as the latest study shows another increase in the number of low-income children taking part in school breakfast programs.
The report from the Food Research and Action Center shows that on an average day last year, more than 1.5 million Texas kids ate free or reduced-price school breakfast.
FRAC’s director of school and out-of-school-time programs Crystal FitzSimons says that number should keep rising with the law passed in 2013 to expand eligibility taking effect this school year.
“That required breakfast be made available to all students at no charge in high-need schools and that had a dramatic impact on breakfast participation,” she says.
Nationally, an average of 11.2 million low-income kids ate breakfast at school each day last year, and research shows that a healthy meal to start the day is one key to improved academics. FitzSimons says many factors are driving the upward trend in school-breakfast participation, including states and districts looking at more innovative and accommodating ways to offer morning meals, such as breakfast-in-the-classroom programs.
“Kids are eating breakfast in the morning in the classroom together,” says FitzSimons.
“They’re doing grab-and-go programs, where kids kind of grab a breakfast on their way into school and take it to the class with them. They are really taking a look at creative ways to make sure that the breakfast program is available to kids who want to participate.”