Remember the glory days of the first meal of the day, when Supertramp even called a song "Breakfast in America"?
Alas, breakfast has been under siege lately. Last month German researchers said eating it just added to total calories for the day and did not help with weight loss. Gasp. (Most nutritionists — citing previous studies that link the meal to academic achievement, lower body mass index, and smaller waists, among other things — said to keep consuming it.) Meanwhile, cash-strapped states are eyeing their school breakfast programs.
To the rescue of the beleaguered meal: National Nutrition Month (March — as declared by the American Dietetic Association), National School Breakfast Week (March 7-11, as declared by the School Nutrition Association), and National Breakfast Day (today, March 8 — as declared by Kellogg).
Every time people upload a photo of their morning meal, Kellogg will donate the equivalent of a school breakfast through its shareyourbreakfast.com promotion. The company's goal: to get pictures of one million breakfasts by July 31. In the process, it would give $200,000 — the equivalent of one million breakfasts — to Action for Healthy Kids. That group would hand out grants to schools so they could get the meal to kids who otherwise wouldn't get it. (David Satcher, the former U.S. Surgeon General and Action for Healthy Kids founding chair, has partnered with Kellogg on the program.)
"The alarming reality is that USDA data shows one in four children live in homes where food is not always available," says registered dietitian Dayle Hayes, president of Nutrition for the Future. Today 11.6 million of the 49.7 million kids in public schools get breakfast in their cafeterias or classrooms; 74 percent of these meals are free and 8.8 percent are reduced price, according to the USDA.
So check out breakfastintheclasroom.org, beyondbreakfast.org, the Food Research & Action Center's site, and the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service's site, which explains how to start a school breakfast program. And remember to serve the first meal of the day to your own family — and, while you're at it, to upload a photo. It's OK to send in anything, but why not make it a healthy shot with vitamin C-laden fruits and orange juice and protein- and calcium-rich milk or yogurt? Meanwhile, I'm off to the kitchen to slice a grapefruit.