Know Your Breakfast Options

Alternative breakfast delivery models have proven successful in increasing student participation in school breakfast when used in combination with or in place of the traditional cafeteria model. The following models ease frequently encountered barriers to increased school breakfast participation.

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Breakfast in the Classroom

How it works:

Breakfast in the classroom (BIC) incorporates school breakfast into the instructional day. Breakfast is served in the classroom after the first bell. Typically, schools serve breakfast at a specified time during first period or during a mid-morning break. Staff or classroom representatives can deliver breakfast to classrooms on serving carts or in individual grab ‘n’ go bags.

Breakfast usually takes 10-15 minutes for students to eat. Many teachers choose to use this time to their advantage by taking attendance, collecting homework, delivering announcements, reading to the class, or incorporating the experience into a nutrition lesson. Once the meal has ended, students are responsible for disposing their own trash in provided receptacles. Classroom representatives may then return the receptacles to a predetermined location or place them in the hallway for custodial staff to collect.


Serving breakfast in the classroom is effective in raising student participation because it removes lack of time before class as a barrier. This model also negates the need for a large enough central convening area to accommodate all students for breakfast.

The classroom is a comfortable setting for students to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast in the classroom is associated with fostering a sense of community and camaraderie between students and staff.

This model would be successful for you if:

  • Students begin school in the same classroom each day
  • Buses arrive just before school begins leaving no time for breakfast before the bell
  • The cafeteria does not accommodate central breakfast

Eating breakfast in the classroom is associated with fostering a sense of community and camaraderie between students and staff.


Breakfast After The Bell

How it works:

Breakfast After the Bell, otherwise known as Second Chance Breakfast, serves students during a morning break, typically between 9 and 10 am. The setting in which students convene to eat is determined according to school preferences. Students are responsible for discarding their own trash after each meal.


This model successfully reaches students who otherwise may not be interested in eating breakfast first thing in the morning. This model provides a healthy alternative for students who resort to a la carte options and vending machine snacks when hungry mid-morning. 

This model would be successful for you if:

  • A milk or morning break already exists
  • Students rely on vending machines for snacks in the morning


Grab N' Go Breakfast

How it works:

Grab ‘n’ Go breakfast packages the morning meal into a paper bag, box, or tray to be retrieved by students. Students may then eat breakfast whenever and wherever they please, within school guidelines. Grab ‘n’ Go meals are typically offered from breakfast serving carts* positioned in high traffic locations. Students are responsible for disposing of their own trash.

*Breakfast Serving Cart: A mobile serving unit for breakfast typically equipped with a point of sale machine to track meals picked up. Breakfast can be hot or cold but must be portable and easy to eat. Carts should include portable coolers for storing milk.


Grab ‘n’ Go breakfast brings breakfast to the student, making it more compatible with students’ schedules. This makes the decision to participate in breakfast easier for students.

Older students tend not to be hungry first thing in the morning. This model succeeds in reaching these students who experience hunger later in the morning. This model also appeals to older students because its flexibility allows students the freedom to eat when and where it is convenient.

This model would be successful for you if:

  • A large number of students are served breakfast in a short period of time
  • Students rely on food from vending machines or outside sources throughout the morning
  • The cafeteria is not large enough to accommodate all students for breakfast during one mid-morning break
  • Your school caters to middle and high school students

School Breakfast Partners