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Camden Schools Serve Breakfast in the Classroom

August 29, 2013 | Camden, Community News, Community News and Media

With Breakfast in the Classroom, Camden City Public Schools is taking the lead in creating a healthy environment in its schools. Beginning this month, 14 schools will be providing free breakfast for all students in their classrooms. More schools are expected to be added throughout the year.

The breakfast will contain recommended food groups—milk, whole grains, fruit. The menu could include yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit salads, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, pancakes, Nutri-Grain Benefit Bars, French toast and breakfast muffins.

Each school chooses its model, either breakfast served in the classroom by Food Service staff, or Grab n’ Go—bagged food served from a food cart. Breakfast will take about 10 minutes start to finish and Food Service has a system in place for delivery and clean up.

Food will be served by Food Service staff, not by teachers. Breakfast should not interrupt or disrupt ongoing activities in the classroom; it’s more of an add-on. Teachers are encouraged to structure the time to benefit them and their students and carry on with morning activities, such as announcements, attendance, homeroom, turning in homework, and individual or out-loud reading time so no instructional time is lost. Many teachers plan to incorporate breakfast into lesson plans, such that an apple sliced into quarters might prompt a lesson on fractions or a discussion about energy and calories.

ARAMARK, the food service provider for Camden City Public Schools, is a critical partner in Camden’s fight against childhood obesity. Darand Garner, ARAMARK Director of Food Service, explains, “We locked arms with the NJPHK and the Camden School District to raise the bar on our nutrition standards. We continue to reduce added fats, sugar, and salt in our recipes; eliminate added trans fats in purchased products; offer healthy, nutrient-dense snacks; source high quality, local produce and products; and promote and expand the availability of breakfast. Ongoing menu development ensures our menus are continuously updated with innovative, healthful, and student tested offerings.”

Valeria Galarza, NJPHK-Camden project manager hopes that parents and guardians will encourage their children to eat breakfast every day at school during the week and explain the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. Galarza says, “Research shows that children who eat a healthy breakfast are better prepared to learn. They concentrate better, work faster, make fewer errors, get higher test scores and show more creativity.”

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