Bringing Farm to School Into Breakfast
October 15-19 is National School Lunch Week, which offers great opportunities to highlight local food in your school lunches. But let’s not forget about breakfast! National Farm to School Month is a time to find ways to expand outside of your current activities and try new things, such as introducing local foods into your breakfasts.
The importance of breakfast is no secret, and the benefits of breakfast for students are numerous: students who eat breakfast do better academically, are more attentive in school, are less prone to acting out, and have a lower risk for developing diet related diseases. Integrating fresh, local ingredients into the most important meal of the day can only serve to stretch these benefits even further!
There are so many delicious ways to implement farm to school into your breakfast program. You can try scrambling local eggs for a protein-filled, hearty breakfast burrito, and add a side of salsa featuring farm fresh tomatoes. Scrambled eggs are also a great place to feature school garden-grown herbs! Local berries, yogurt, and granola can make for a sweet and delicious breakfast parfait in the morning. Whole grain bread and potatoes can add some much needed heartiness to your breakfasts to keep students full and attentive.
Here are some great examples of schools finding fresh and fun ways to add farm to school into their breakfast menus:
Iowa: For Iowa Local Food Day 2018, Des Moines Public Schools served up a sausage and egg breakfast pizza and sunny corn muffins with ingredients sourced from Iowa producers. This healthy breakfast pizza packed with protein is a student favorite, and makes an easy Grab n’ Go meal that fuels up bodies and minds for the first classes of the day.
Rhode Island: A few years ago, a Rhode Island baker started incorporating local zucchini, carrots, and apples into breakfast bars and muffins he makes for Providence schools. Those items are packaged and used in Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab n’ Go breakfasts. Though apple bars and muffins are a natural favorite of students, a couple years of experience has taught the schools that peeled zucchini and fun names for the bars and muffins can make the other options much more kid-friendly.
Texas: Austin Independent School District’s Breakfast in the Classroom program includes breakfast tacos featuring local eggs. Eggs are a great lower cost meat alternative that offers students filling and tasty protein, and they are such a versatile breakfast option that pairs well with so many other foods.
Massachusetts: Boston Public Schools also offers a healthy muffin that includes local apples, zucchini, and carrots, which was selected specifically for its ability to work well for Breakfast in the Classroom. Muffins are a hearty and quick breakfast option, making them perfect for Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab n’ Go breakfasts, or Second Chance Breakfast. Just outside of Boston, Cambridge Public Schools makes oatmeal using local apple cider as the cooking liquid. Apples are a common favorite fruit among students, and finding ways to taste them in new and creative ways is a great way to not only incorporate local foods into different meals, but also to show students the versatility that their favorites can offer in every meal!
If adding to your breakfast program feels like just too big a leap right now, fear not! You can always plan for the future. National School Breakfast Week is March 6-10, 2019. Mark your calendars and get thinking about how you can get farm to school into your breakfast soon!