Healthy Menus for Breakfast in the Classroom was the topic for the second “Breakfast Matters: “How To” Webinar Series” presented April 11 by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Presentations included an overview of the new breakfast standards, best practices for menu planning for BIC and grab & go, and school district implementation.
FRAC’s Jessie Hewins introduced the webinar by pointing out that Breakfast in the Classroom programs can dramatically increase participation, and offered these tips for BIC menus:
•Menu items should be easy to prepare, serve, and eat
•Breakfast in the classroom menus can and should be healthy and appealing
•Many schools offer both hot and cold menu items
In her presentation, “Best Practices in Menu Planning for Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab n’ Go,”Amy Korth, MS, RD, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension provided a variety of useful suggestions. Her organization created a Toolkit for BIC, which included 10 Menu Planning Tips (see below ). Among them: Offer easy-to-transport, and easy-to-open items for BIC, of which she provided a detailed list of examples.
How to find the Wisconsin BIC toolkit
–Click on: “Publications and Research”
Meeting these criteria, E S Foods’ has just introduced its “Simple Choice Meals” line. Each pre-packaged meal contains: 1 or 2- ounce equivalent of grain, 1 to 2 meat/meat alternate options and ½ cup of fruit. All you need to do is offer your own veggie choices and milk. All varieties are 100% whole grain or whole grain rich. Reimbursable meal requirements, including ½ cup fruit, have been met. The Simple Choice Meals come in one convenient, eco-friendly pouch package that simplifies storage and inventory management. No leftovers, no waste. It’s perfect when you need a one grain entree or easy second or third choice entrees to serve with your current options
Additional specific menu tips were provided by Andrea Wright, Coordinator of Nutrition Services for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky. Among her many practical tips to consider were:
- Pre-packaged items
- No syrup!
- Cereal in a bag vs. bowl
- No spoons sent out
- Milk & juice cartons with straw hole
Although she noted that cereal in bags is in limited availability, E S Foods has them! We conducted research among foodservice directors and saw the need, so last year we introduced cereal in bags as part of our Breakfast BREAKS line. Cereal in bags decreases spills since the kids eat it as a finger-food.