Eating a healthy breakfast every morning is good for everyone, especially for school kids. According to the American Dietetic Association, kids that eat breakfast perform better in class and on the playground with better concentration, problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
What's the best way to encourage kids to eat a healthy breakfast? Elementary school educators in Brattleboro, Vermont believe the secret is offering breakfast choices that taste good to kids and exceed USDA nutritional standards. In March, the Brattleboro school district joined with Fresh Picks Café and local Farm-to-School organization, Food Connects, to sponsor a Free Breakfast Week at three elementary schools.
Research shows that when it comes to choosing food, people of all ages put taste over nutrition. To help students make smart choices, Fresh Picks Café created a kid-friendly breakfast menu featuring healthy versions of hearty breakfast favorites.
The hottest seller: A quinoa carrot muffin with the look and taste of carrot cake. Another popular choice was an egg, turkey sausage and cheese sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin. The menu also offered local specialties, like granola from True North, a company launched by former Brattleboro educators. A hit with the kids, it was served with Greek vanilla yogurt from Brattleboro-based Commonwealth Dairy.
To help kids stick to healthy eating habits, Food Connects surveyed students for feedback on Free Breakfast Week likes and dislikes. Fresh Picks Café Food Service Director, Nola Corbeil, is using the results to make sure there's always a healthy choice for everyone at breakfast. "We value kids' input," says Nola. "The quinoa carrot muffin, egg and cheese English muffin sandwich are now menu staples. And we're holding the beans in our healthy version of a breakfast burrito."