Nebraska lawmaker pushes for alternative breakfast programs in s - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Nebraska lawmaker pushes for alternative breakfast programs in schools

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Education groups are supporting a Nebraska lawmaker's effort to increase the number of students eating breakfast at school.
 
On Monday, Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln introduced the bill that would encourage schools to create alternative breakfast programs like a grab-and-go or allow students to eat in the classroom through a grant program.

Susann Craig with Mitchell Elementary has been the school's cafeteria manager for 31 years.

She says breakfast is an important meal of the day, especially for young minds. Craig's staff offers breakfast to nearly half of the 333 elementary students daily.

Craig, who supports the push for breakfast alternatives, says she tries to target bus students who awake earlier than other students and are unable to eat at home. The school also delivers cafeteria menus home monthly so that students can see what will be offered each day.

In the Mitchell cafeteria, the staff gives students an "offer verses serve" option. Craig says students can refuse being offered a particular food item, but if they would like to have more of another item, the staff must provide an extra serving.

She says grade school students pay $1.50 for their meals and that they must have "so many components" on their plate that equals the price they pay.

Fruits and vegetables are always available to students; desserts are limited.

Craig says it just comes down to encouraging students to eat breakfast.

"Word of mouth. Kids going to tell kids what we're having and that brings them in. I think we're doing just about what we can do right now. Just encourage."

When it comes to breakfast, she says students enjoy cold cereal, cream of wheat and oatmeal.
 
Sen. Avery says Nebraska has one of the lowest school breakfast participation rates in the country. Supporters of the bill say eating breakfast leads to better educational outcomes for students.

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