Starting and Expanding a Breakfast Program

Now that you understand the benefits of school breakfast, how can you increase your school’s breakfast participation and meet the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge?

  • Learn

    more about the breakfast innovations that schools with high breakfast participation have incorporated to increase the number of students eating breakfast

  • Explore

    the recommended resources and funding sources to help schools make changes to increase breakfast program participation

  • Apply

    for the grants to help implement school breakfast innovations

  • Seek

    technical assistance and breakfast resources from ESE’s Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP)

  • Execute

    the changes needed to put the recommended innovations into practice

  • Serve

    a variety of quality hot and cold breakfast items, from healthy breakfast burritos to fresh fruits and veggies, and limit processed foods

  • Meet

    the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge and increase the school district’s breakfast participation by 35%

  • Win

    awards, recognition, and prizes for successfully meeting and sustaining the goal

Innovations in School Breakfast

Schools experience a greater increase in breakfast participation when they serve higher quality breakfast items and incorporate alternative breakfast delivery methods, rather than the traditional model of breakfast served in the cafeteria.


 Breakfast is pre-packaged by the food service staff and is served from a mobile cart.  The cart can be placed in numerous locations throughout the school building including the building entrance or any high traffic area where students congregate.  Students have the ability to grab breakfast and eat in the hall, the classroom, or even outside depending on the school’s policy.  This convenient service method is popular with middle and high school students who find that they can consume breakfast while continuing to socialize with their peers. 

Breakfast in the Classroom:

Students arrive at their classrooms to find breakfast delivered by mobile cart or insulated cooler bags.  They eat breakfast at their desks, and many schools incorporate Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) into instructional time by serving breakfast during morning announcements, reading time, or nutrition lessons.  Most elementary schools find this alternative serving method convenient since it provides increased structure for their young students.

Breakfast after the Bell:

Often students are in a rush to get to class in the morning, and many simply are not hungry before school starts.  By offering a “second chance” breakfast, students are able to pick up a pre-packaged breakfast from a mobile cart after first period.  This method allows schools to reach as many hungry students as possible.

School Breakfast Resources

Breakfast After the Bell Quick Guides

Breakfast After the Bell Quick Guides

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Project Bread's Child Nutrition Outreach Program have developed a series of toolkits and resources to help schools implement Breakfast After the Bell. Find tools for Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab & Go, and Second Chance Models.

School Breakfast Guides and Toolkits from Share Our Strength

School Breakfast Guides and Toolkits from Share Our Strength
"A number of organizations and school districts have developed guides or tool kits to help facilitate efforts to expand in-classroom and other effective school breakfast models. While tailored to different audiences and locations, most guides emphasize the importance of breakfast for children's health, development and academic performance; discuss the barriers to participating in school breakfast programs; introduce different models of serving breakfast that have proven to be effective in increasing program participation; and provide practical tips for addressing implementation challenges.”

Making it Count Breakfast Videos-

"Energize Your Day With School Breakfast" Toolkit

"Energize Your Day With School Breakfast" Toolkit 

USDA Food and Nutrition Service
This toolkit includes a collection of resources that school food service directors, program operators, and other stakeholders may use to establish or expand the breakfast service within their school  There are numerous worksheets, surveys, planning tools, and extensive marketing materials to help you implement and spread the word about your School Breakfast Program.

Administrators: Resources for implementing alternative breakfast models

Administrators: Resources for implementing alternative breakfast models

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) has compiled ideas for leadership lessons, strategies for success, and funding to help improve the attendance, health, and behavior of students by moving breakfast out of the cafeteria.

The United State Department of Agriculture

The United State Department of Agriculture 

(USDA) offers many breakfast resources to help you assess your breakfast program, involve key stakeholders, and implement strategies for expanding breakfast participation. Several other organizations have developed resources to guide schools through the process of implementing these School Breakfast Program innovations. We recommended some of our favorites below.