Grab & Go Breakfast - Action for Healthy Kids
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Grab & Go Breakfast

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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.

Take Action

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.