Last week, the Nebraska State Legislature adjourned for the year. Before adjournment, lawmakers introduced interim studies on issues that they plan to take a closer look at between now and next year. One such study, LR 206, will look at the school breakfast program in Nebraska and potential ways to increase participation.
Research has found that breakfast has a relationship to learning and quite simply, kids learn better when they are not hungry. In an ideal world, every child would have a quality breakfast provided by their parents before they leave home, but in reality that doesn’t always happen. For many families, financial challenges and time pressures impact their ability to help kids start their day out right.
This is why many states have started taking a look at utilizing the federal school breakfast program and other resources to ensure that every child eats breakfast. Several states passed legislation this year to help get more kids access to a healthy morning meal.
Colorado passed legislation to require breakfast “after the bell”, or after the regular start of the school day, for schools that have more than 80 percent of students eligible for free or reduced meal programs. Breakfast can be served in the classroom or during a brief morning recess.
West Virginia passed ambitious legislation known as the “Feed to Achieve” Act that aims to provide a free nutritious breakfast to all students in K-12.
States around the country are starting to recognize the potential of breakfast, and an interim study here in Nebraska is a good first step in looking at what we can do help make sure more kids are eating the most important meal of the day.