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Newton schools put the spotlight on breakfast

Libery Middle School students, from left, seventh-grader Dawson Carter and sixth-graders Asia Williams and Kaiah Nolen visited the breakfast line at school on Tuesday before classes began. This week, Newton County schools are focusing on school breakfasts to encourage more students to eat healthy. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Libery Middle School students, from left, seventh-grader Dawson Carter and sixth-graders Asia Williams and Kaiah Nolen visited the breakfast line at school on Tuesday before classes began. This week, Newton County schools are focusing on school breakfasts to encourage more students to eat healthy. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

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Sixth-grader Hayley Watkins was one of the students who received a "Be A Star" cup after going through the breakfast line. The cup was given to every 30th student going through the food line. Schools also are offering special foods and holding a writing contest this week.

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

The Newton County School System 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.

"Research indicates that students who eat breakfast, and specifically school breakfast, are more likely to have adequate intakes of certain essential nutrients," said Brittany Bingeman, School Nutrition Wellness coordinator and a registered dietitian at NCSS.

Newton County schools are celebrating the week with special menu items and decorations, coloring and activity sheets for elementary students, prize giveaways at breakfast on Friday and a district-wide writing contest.

Students in first through 12th grades can enter the "Who's Your Breakfast Star?" writing contest, which asks students to explain who they would want to enjoy school breakfast with and why. Entry forms are due to classroom teachers at the elementary level or Language Arts teachers at the middle and high school levels by Wednesday, March 13.

A maximum of three essays from each school will be sent to the National School Nutrition Association competition, and of these entries, three essays, one from each school level, elementary, middle, and high, will be selected as district-level contest winners.

System officials hope activities like this will increase breakfast participation and bring awareness to the importance of eating a good breakfast.

"School breakfast provides students with one-fourth of the recommended dietary allowances for vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and protein," Bingeman said. "Furthermore, the benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast extend into the classroom, with children showing increased concentration, memory and improved academic performance after eating this important meal."

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.

Students are offered 100 percent fruit juice or fruit, low-fat and fat-free plain or fat-free flavored milk and entree items, including whole grains, low-fat dairy items and protein. Every school breakfast served meets federal nutrition standards limiting fat and portion size, according to NCSS.

NCSS served 1,190,305 breakfasts in 2011, with nearly 36 percent of students participating. In 2012, the system served 1,211,388 breakfasts, with nearly 38 percent of students participating.

So far this school year, 734,214 breakfasts have been served with more than 37 percent of students participating each day.

Jan Loomans, director of Operational Services, said that breakfast participation is lower than lunch because some students eat breakfast at home or on the way to school. Schools have 30 minutes to serve breakfast, and many upper-level students would rather visit with their friends.

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 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

henrystamm 1 year, 1 month ago

Since when the schools have become a government run restaurant? What ever happened for the parents feeding them at home? Is this parent generation been so dummied down by the liberal socialistic education system that we the hard working taxpayers now have to pick up the tab? Just unbelievable how many gullible people we now have, but just look what we elect; we get what we voted for at least the majority of dummies. Yes I mean you!!!!!!!!!!

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FishyFishy 1 year, 1 month ago

School Breakfast has been around as long as I can remember. This is nothing new. I support it and it has nothing to do with my far from liberal agenda. We have a lot of hungry children in our county and there are a myriad of reasons for this and I would venture to guess that a very small percentage is due to neglectful parents. I see kids at the bus stop at 6:15 every morning, that should cause more outrage than a school breakfast. In my opinion.

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John 1 year, 1 month ago

When are parents &/or guardians going to step up to the bar and accept their parental responsibilities. Remember they elected by their own choosing to bring children into this world. And most truly poor people have an EBT card that is "suppsed to be" for feeding their children. Responsibility has nothing to do with being a conservative or liberal or being agnostic. Schools already are "expected by many" to fix behavioral issues that are most usually caused by the "footprints" of those that take care of thme from day one - that is highly unlikely to happened. Students are at school more or less 184 days a year and 7 hours/day (not counting lunch & early dismissals) or 1288 hours out of 8760 in a 365 day year or 14.7% of an entire year. If you can't or unwilling to handle the responsibility of child raising do, what is necessary to stop bringing a child into the world. Heck, you can find out a lot about child raising for "free" on the internet or library- good reading & better than getting the latest news about Dennis Rodman or the Kardasians,, or, or, or, or.................... There is no child that ever asked to be brought into this world - their parents made that choice. By the way went I went to school we had no breakfast program (ate oat meal ever day as long as I could remember & still do), we received "free" milk (white or chocolate) for lunch. Lunch was in a brown paper bag from home (had to save the bag to take back home until it tore). After I turned 8, we (3 chiildren all under 14 years of age) only had Mom to take care of us, she did it without assistance. We survived.

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John 1 year, 1 month ago

To whom & how many times did you expressed YOUR OUTRGE(s) over students wait for teh bus at 6:15 am? And what was there replies each time? What are you next steps as they are stil out there at 6;30 am in my neighborhood? As for me, I have no issue with it - I caught the bus at 5:45 AM.

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FishyFishy 1 year, 1 month ago

Did either of you even read the article. #crazycakes

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John 1 year, 1 month ago

Guess you were attempting to be insulting. Professionals have tried and failed, so a rookie has no chance. To answer you question - Yes & even understood every word and meaning.

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