Are your students in a hurry to get to class and forget to eat breakfast? Use Grab & Go serving carts located in easily accessible locations, such as the cafeteria or near the school entrance, to provide a quick and nutritious meal for students. With disposable packaging and strategically-placed trash cans, Grab & Go breakfasts are a practical and appealing way to reach hungry kids in a hurry, boost participation in your school breakfast program, and ensure the school food service department receives funds for reimbursable meals.
Be prepared with a well thought out idea and the research behind the importance of breakfast to help get approval for a Grab & Go breakfast program.
How it Works (Generally)
Ask your food service staff to pack reimbursable breakfasts into individual paper bags (usually the day before) or purchase prepackaged reimbursable breakfasts in boxes.
Get a mobile serving cart. Offering Grab & Go breakfast from mobile carts allows schools to serve breakfast quickly, efficiently and conveniently to more students. Your serving cart(s) could also include a computer or point of sale machine. Ask a school foodservice staff member to operate the cart before school, during morning break, or between classes.
Set a routine for your students. Create school guidelines that cover where students pick up their breakfast and when and where they can go to eat it. For example:
Grab & Go breakfasts can be served first thing in the morning, between classes, or at a mid-morning break.
Your mobile service carts can be located in high-traffic areas, such as the school entrance, cafeteria, hallways, or near the gym.
Students can take the breakfast and eat it outside, in the hall, in class, or in the cafeteria (depending on what the school decides is appropriate).
Set trash cans outside the classroom door for easy disposal, clean-up, and easy pick-up.
Get creative with your Grab & Go menus! Breakfasts are usually cold but can include hot items as well. Be sure to add something to drink, like milk.
Talking points to get your administration on board:
Grab & Go breakfast brings breakfast to the student, making it easier for them to eat breakfast.
Many students may not be hungry first thing in the morning or they want to hang out with friends. Grab & Go breakfast allows students the flexibility and choice to eat breakfast where and when they want.
Grab & Go breakfasts are convenient for foodservice staff, and pre-packaged breakfasts can take less time to prepare than traditional breakfasts.
Because it is so easy and efficient for students to grab a bag, this method also allows schools to serve a breakfast more quickly to students.
Make sure all school staff are aware of the program, when/where breakfast will be served, and that students may eat breakfast in the classroom.
Get students excited! Try offering a free “kick-off” breakfast to all students and staff on the first day of Grab & Go or randomly tuck a small prize into several colorful theme bags as a fun way to begin the day with a school breakfast.
Is Grab & Go Right for My School?
Grab & Go breakfasts work particularly well to give students some flexibility. Here are some other characteristics where Grab & Go breakfasts are likely to be successful:
The cafeteria or gym is crowded or not available for breakfast.
A large number of students have to eat in a short amount of time.
Buses arrive just before the start of classes.
Teachers and custodial staff are supportive of breakfast and realize its importance to learning.
Students rely on ala carte and convenience foods from outside the school for breakfast.
The cafeteria isn’t located where students enter the building or hang out.
The breakfast menu can easily offer Grab & Go options.
In March, schools across the country celebrate National School Breakfast Week. Take this time to review participation in your school's breakfast program and get students excited about eating breakfast.