Hudson schools win breakfast challenge
By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Hudson Public Schools s was among 29 districts in the state to win the School Breakfast Challenge for the 2012-13 school year. Created by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the program is intended to promote school breakfast. The winning schools achieved at least a 35-percent increase in school breakfast participation. The winners were recognized during the School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts’ fall ceremony Oct. 30.
According to Jenny M. Gormley, director of health, nursing, and safety at Hudson Public Schools, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day as it provides the necessary energy to get ready for a day of learning and achievement.
“Research shows that regularly eating a healthy breakfast helps children concentrate and feel better, and as a result, achieve more in school,” she said. “Having a balanced meal to start the day provides an opportunity to get calcium, fiber and other nutrients that contribute to strong bones and muscles and better mood.”
Studies have shown, she added, that eating a healthful breakfast has a positive impact on student learning, memory, and mood, as well as helps to reduce student absences.
Whitsons School Nutrition, food service providers at Hudson Public Schools, worked closely with the Hudson Public Schools administrators to develop a plan to increase the breakfast participation.
While the breakfast program already existed, according to Drew Lauer, Whitsons food service director for the Hudson school district, Whitsons “tweaked the program a bit” to focus on promoting school breakfast.
“We put up signs in each cafeteria advertising that breakfast was available and told parents about it at open houses and any other time we could,” he said.
They revamped the breakfast options in the schools to include a wider variety of items such as hot breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal in the secondary schools, and cold items in the elementary schools.
Part of the strategy was also to educate the student body and staff about the value of eating a full breakfast, which also includes milk and fruit juice, instead of just a la carte items.
“This is an ongoing challenge and I hope to achieve recognition again for this current school year,” Lauer added.
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