Why do school communities like Breakfast in the Classroom?

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How Does Breakfast in the Classroom Work?

Breakfast in the Classroom F.A.Q.


What is Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC)?

Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) is a breakfast service model that allows us to maximize the availability of free breakfast for elementary students. This program ensures that students receive the proper nutrients and energy they need for their instructional day. Please click here for an FAQ you can share with the Parent Community on BIC.



Why did NYC decide to expand the Breakfast in the Classroom program?

The Breakfast in the Classroom program ensures that all of our students have access to—and eat—breakfast each day. This program is a proven strategy to increase breakfast participation, which helps students focus and do better in class. In fact, we’ve found that when breakfast is offered to students in the classroom, participation in the program increases significantly. The program is backed by the USDA, the Healthy Schools Campaign, Share Our Strength and others.



What are the advantages of Breakfast in the Classroom?

Students who eat a nutritious and healthy breakfast think clearly, concentrate on learning, and perform better in school. When breakfast is moved into the classroom and served to everyone, every student is able to start the school day ready to learn without hunger-related disruptions and reports have shown fewer incidents of student lateness, improved attendance, and fewer visits to the school nurse.



Are students required to participate?

No student is ever required to take any meal offered by NYCDOE SchoolFood. That includes breakfast and lunch.



Most of the students at my school already eat breakfast at home before they come to school. Why do they need to have a second breakfast?

BIC meals are intended for children who are hungry. Those who don’t eat breakfast at home will have access to a healthy and nutritious meal to start their day. No child who does not want to eat or has already eaten is required to eat a second meal. The number of breakfasts delivered to the classroom is based on the number of children who are actually eating each day.



How long does it take students to eat in the morning? Doesn’t that subtract from instructional time?

Breakfast in the Classroom takes only about 15 minutes each day at the time the school period starts. Many teachers use the time during breakfast to conduct many of the activities they usually conduct first thing in the morning, like collecting homework and taking attendance. Others use the opportunity as a teaching moment, where students learn about nutrition and health, as well as sustainability and recycling. Other teachers use the time to ask students to read or do individual work. Breakfast in the Classroom is a great opportunity for students to “break bread together” and learn the importance of calmly and deliberately eating together – an experience we all too often miss in our busy lives. This period is an investment in the rest of the school day.



What is included on the Breakfast in the Classroom menu?

Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) uses the Breakfast Express Menu which includes two grain components and fruit every day. Students may also request cereal and milk on any day as well. Our breakfast menu exceeds the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrition Standards for School Meals.



Do teachers need to go around opening containers and assisting with breakfast service for younger children?

Teachers have reported that younger students can be taught how to open these items on their own. These are the same items that students are served in the cafeteria. Teachers have also reported using these exercises as learning opportunities.



Some foods are challenging for smaller children. Can principals choose what food packages are included for various grades? For example, can items like oranges that require peeling be omitted?

SchoolFood’s menus are based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) meal patterns. The meal pattern cannot be adjusted, however, certain items like oranges can be replaced with other fruit items to accommodate the needs of students.



Some parents drop off children early. In the past, we have had these children eat breakfast in the cafeteria. If breakfast is now being served in the classroom, do we still have early drop off?

Yes. Many principals who currently have Breakfast in the Classroom in their schools continue to use the cafeteria as a drop off location. Children can spend time there reading or talking with friends before going to class.



Does SchoolFood have a food allergy policy?

Yes. The full food allergy policy can be found at this link on our website. SchoolFood staff works closely with school nurses to ensure that the needs of students with food allergies are met. On a daily basis, menus offer more than one option for students to enjoy. Providing students with menu choices allows each child to select food items that meet their taste preference and allergy needs. Unfortunately, it is not possible to establish and maintain a “peanut-free environment.” Prohibiting foods containing a specific ingredient, such as peanuts, does not eliminate the possibility of student exposure to that ingredient. Food items that do not contain peanuts may be produced in manufacturing plants that make peanut products, often times using the same production line. Parents and guardians with concerns regarding food allergies are advised to consult with their medical professionals, the school administration, and the on-site health care professional to determine the best course of action for their child and to assist students in selecting the best meals, snacks, and beverages while at school.


I am concerned with the amount of waste that is being produced at the school because of BIC?

BIC program is aligned with the DOE and NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) commitment to increase recycling and decrease contamination of recyclables and compostables, resulting in less waste generated in our schools overall. At BIC schools that are part of the Organics Collection program, sorting of the waste is performed by SchoolFood staff to ensure the dual recycling streams and organics are properly disposed.