Aramark, a provider of food and nutrition services to more than 3,000 K-12 schools across the nation, reports that nearly 400,000 more students are eating breakfast at school this year compared to the previous school year.
"Aramark has created several innovative solutions to help our school district partners provide students with a healthy, nutritious breakfast that enable children to perform better in school and encourage healthful eating habits," said Dennis Maple, president of Aramark Education. "While the positive benefits of eating a school breakfast are well documented, some students, especially those from low-income households, are not able to secure a nutritious meal before class."
During the 2010-2011 school year, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) found that 9.8 million low-income children participated in the school breakfast program on an average day, an increase of 354,000 children from the previous year. Since the 2007-2008 school year, the school breakfast program has grown by 18.6 percent, serving an additional 1.5 million low-income children a healthy breakfast each day.
As the need to provide children with a healthy breakfast continues to grow, Aramark has developed several programs and dining solutions to help school districts provide students with the nutrition needed to have a productive school day. Students can enjoy a healthy, energy-packed breakfast in a variety of settings including:
Breakfast in the Classroom: As part of Aramark's First Class Breakfast program, Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) allows students to choose their breakfast items from a cart that is arranged outside of their classroom and enjoy a hot, nutritious breakfast while sitting in their seat without missing a moment of their first class. A convenient option that is growing in popularity among school districts, BIC provides a meal that is sure to give students the energy they need for the day without cutting into class time or requiring a separate cafeteria space. The program encourages students who may not have the time or resources to eat breakfast at home to enjoy the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast Carts: A key component of Aramark's AMP Up with Breakfast™ program, the mobile cart can be placed outside the cafeteria and in high traffic areas in middle schools and high schools to capture students on their way to class so they do not skip breakfast. Students can grab a nutritious meal on the way to their class without missing an opportunity to socialize with friends.
Breakfast in the Cafeteria: Aramark's AMP Up with Breakfast™ program is also able to utilize the school's cafeteria to offer a variety of hot and cold meal options served in convenient grab and go breakfast bags. Students are free to eat on the run or settle in where ever they feel comfortable, before school and during morning break.
To support the School Nutrition Association's "National School Breakfast Week," March 5 through 9, 2012, Aramark is helping its school district partners promote the positive effects breakfast can have on academic achievement and healthy lifestyle choices. Launched in 1989, National School Breakfast Week aims to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program among children and parents. This year's theme, "School Breakfast - Go for Gold," aligns with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Healthier US School Challenge and the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign.
Aramark is committed to improving childhood nutrition and creating healthier school environments through nutritious meal offerings and wellness education. Menus feature low and non-fat dairy options; lean protein choices; access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; assorted whole grain products; and 100 percent fruit juice and water. The company continues to reduce added fats, sugar and salt; eliminate added trans fats and promote and expand the availability of breakfast.