On Nov. 29, USDA released an interim final rule to extend current regulatory flexibility for school meal programs through School Year (SY) 2018-19. The...
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) have introduced H.R. 3738, the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act of 2017, to provide commodity support for the School Breakfast Program (SBP). The bill, endorsed by the non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA), will allow more students to benefit from a nutritious school breakfast and enjoy a wider variety of American grown foods.
The USDA Foods program supplies schools with 100% American grown foods to serve within school meals. Currently, this commodity allotment is based only on the number of school lunches served. The Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act will provide schools an additional 6 cents in commodity support for every school breakfast served. Providing USDA Foods for school breakfast will reduce schools’ food expenditures, helping school nutrition professionals manage rising costs and invest limited foodservice dollars into expanding breakfast programs and improving menus for students.
“When it comes to helping kids learn, healthy meals are just as important as textbooks,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA.) “Oftentimes, teachers lose an entire day because hungry or malnourished students can’t focus in the classroom. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act will increase access to healthy breakfasts at school for kids across America.”
“The School Breakfast Program is critical to ensuring kids are not starting their day off hungry and instead, can focus on learning,” said Rep. Davis. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Rep. McGovern that will help make this program stronger and provide more healthy meals to students in need.”
With nearly 13 million children living in food-insecure households in the US, school breakfast is critical to ensuring students have the nutrition they need to achieve academic success.Research shows students who eat school breakfast perform better on standardized tests and have improved classroom behavior and attendance.
“Every student should have the opportunity to fuel their day with a nutritious school breakfast. With USDA Foods support, school nutrition professionals can expand innovative breakfast in the classroom or grab and go programs, proven to increase breakfast consumption,” said SNA President Lynn Harvey, Ed.D., RDN, LDN, FAND, SNS. “The Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act will support student achievement, strengthen school meal programs and expand markets for America’s farmers.”
Through the USDA Foods program, schools receive high-quality domestic agricultural products including fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy foods, whole grains and oils. USDA Foods currently account for approximately 15-20 percent of the foods served as part of school lunch.