The McCormack Middle School recently launched “Smoothie Fridays,” where low-fat fruit smoothies are offered as a breakfast choice on Fridays, either in the cafeteria or as a “grab and go” option. Dale Feeney, the cafeteria manager, along with her entire team, have been mixing up flavors like peach-strawberry and strawberry-banana, which students love. So far, breakfast participation is up by more than 20% on Fridays as a result!
This introduction of smoothies is part of Fuel Up to Play 60, a nationwide in-school program which is designed to encourage students to eat nutrient-rich foods and complete 60 minutes of physical activity daily. The program is sponsored by National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Boston Public Schools was fortunate to receive a district grant from Fuel Up in early 2011 to help students develop the habit of eating a healthy breakfast, which has been shown to significantly improve academic performance. Fuel Up to Play 60 is intended to make positive changes in healthy eating and the physical activity environment in schools. It is designed to increase student participation in breakfast and is a step in the right direction to have focused, engaged and high-achieving students in the classroom.
Our goal for the program in Boston Public Schools is to increase breakfast participation by 20% by the end of the calendar year. The Fuel Up to Play 60 grant is used for equipment for serving of breakfast in locations in addition to the cafeteria, such as “Breakfast in the Classroom” and “Grab ‘n Go” breakfast for students to take to their first classroom. This flexibility in the way breakfast is served means that more students have access to breakfast.