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Rockdale schools focusing on healthy breakfasts

Barksdale Elementary School prekindergarten students Cameron Eades, left, and Hunter Mann filled their trays of healthy food to begin their school day on Wednesday. This week, Rockdale County schools are celebrating National School Breakfast Week. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Barksdale Elementary School prekindergarten students Cameron Eades, left, and Hunter Mann filled their trays of healthy food to begin their school day on Wednesday. This week, Rockdale County schools are celebrating National School Breakfast Week. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

CONYERS -- It's all about breakfast this week.

Rockdale County Public Schools is celebrating National School Breakfast Week.

The 2013 theme, "Be a Star with School Breakfast," highlights how eating a balanced breakfast at school can help students shine like their favorite stars in the movies, in sports and on TV.

"Breakfast happens every day in every school, and it is so critical to student achievement," said Peggy Lawrence, director of School Food Services for Rockdale County Public Schools.

Studies indicate that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores and improve their cognitive speed and memory, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

Approximately 42 percent of Rockdale County students eat school breakfast every day, according to Lawrence. She said 6,600 breakfasts are served each day, including those served to students and adults.

"Hungry children cannot learn. This is why breakfast is so critical," Lawrence said. "School breakfast is oftentimes the only breakfast available to many of our students; without it, they would start the school day hungry and their ability to focus on academics would be compromised."

She added that school breakfast is also a very convenient option for many busy families, like her own.

"I know that I can send my children to school each day and that they will get two, well-balanced meals served by caring people. That is a huge load off of me as a busy, working mom," Lawrence said.

She said more healthy options are continuously being offered. New federal regulations regarding school lunches went into effect this year, focusing on a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat milk.

"Rockdale was, and still is, ahead of the curve, as we had already been doing many of the things that are now required," Lawrence said. "Our emphasis on fresh produce whenever possible and cost effective and preparing fresh food on site each day has always served us well, and now it is the endorsement and encouragement on a federal level as well."

The Georgia School Nutrition Association encourages parents to educate students at home about healthy eating habits. Some creative tips to make healthy eating fun include:

-- Make it colorful - Kids commonly eat with their eyes, so if it looks good, they are more likely to give it a try.

-- Let them get involved - Whether simply offering a couple of different healthy options for them to choose from or letting them help make or assemble meals, kids usually enjoy having some say in what they eat.

-- Dip it or dunk it - A great option for encouraging more raw fruits and veggies, offer low-fat dressings, yogurt, peanut butter or other healthy sides to make eating active for kids.

"Be a Star with School Breakfast" was created by the non-profit School Nutrition Association with support from Kellogg's Foodservice. The national campaign recognizes National School Breakfast Week, which was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles.

Comments

Elmo 1 year, 1 month ago

Maybe the GSNA should "educate parents" on f e e d I n g their own children instead of leaving it up to taxpayers.

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will 1 year, 1 month ago

They leave everything up to the hard working taxpayer and their education, which is a PHD, is taking advantage of the system. What is sad is these entitlement people get to vote and they cant even read the ballot

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ladydawg 1 year, 1 month ago

I always wonder how 68% of the kids are eligible for the free lunch program and most of the parents are wearing high end labeled clothing and drive nicer cars than mine. Perhaps I'm only running into the other 32% folks like me.

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heresyafacts 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey, you try footing a 20gb monthly data plan, on top of haircare and manicure costs. Some things just have to go. Like groceries.

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johndoemo_ 1 year, 1 month ago

I am a high school math teacher. My cell phone is the cheapest track phone offered. My students always make fun of it and tell me I need to up-grade. I tell them that I would love an Iphone like them but I have to buy my own lunch. That costs approx 3 dollars per day(60 dollars per month). I could definitely afford a data plan if the tax payers were to buy my lunch. But it's fine. My phone works and I dont owe anyone. The kids see my big SUV and think I am rich. I'm not. I just do smart things with money instead of buying my children Iphones with unlimited data.

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