School breakfast programs
- Offer students a nutritious breakfast, often involving culturally relevant practices and food options
- Can be served in the cafeteria before school starts, from grab-and-go carts in hallways, or in classrooms before the day begins
- Schools participating in federal programs receive subsidies for each breakfast served
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
All school-aged children
Outcomes and impact
- Increased academic achievement, especially among nutritionally deficient or malnourished children
- Increased school attendance
- Increased healthy food consumption and improved breakfast nutrition
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Participation in these programs depends on the extent to which schools are able to reduce stigma around receiving free meals. Schools can reduce stigma by offering free- or reduced-price breakfast to all students, allowing students to eat together within classrooms, etc.
- Successful programs include partnerships with nutritionists, health experts and community leaders.
- Local governments should ensure that school breakfast programs become part of the district’s culture, facilitating buy-in within the community.
- School teachers and administrators should be trained to handle questions about free or reduced cost meals in school with sensitivity and confidentiality.