Since the beginning of this school year, we have had the opportunity to exchange ideas, resources and challenges with several schools through email communications, phone calls and webinars. We know that it has been an uncertain start to the school year with many changes influenced by COVID-19. We’ve been doing our best to provide you with as much support and as many resources as possible to ensure that you all provide a nutritious breakfast to students while navigating changes and challenges. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check out resources we shared last month: Recommended Single Serve Products, Sample – Adapted Breakfast Menu and our Toolkit – Breakfast Program Adapted COVID-19.
Here are some creative ideas introduced by a few schools that joined various Breakfast Club of Canada Open Houses (webinars). While they don’t cover every aspect of breakfast programming, they show that many of you have created out-of-the-box ways to navigate this challenging time and still provide a nutritious breakfast each morning! If any of you have additional ideas that you’ve employed, we’d love to hear about them – please don’t hesitate to share them with your Club coordinator, and thank you to those who have shared the ideas below with us:
When possible, some schools can use a pre-order menu for their class bins, where teachers/students know the weekly menu, and the class completes an order in advance. The class simply marks what they would like on the menu with the basket (x boxes of cereal for Friday) and bins for the classroom are stocked based on the orders returned with the baskets.
While some schools are not allowed to use vending machines anymore, some are looking to use them to offer pre-packaged, healthy items with sanitizing stations next to them, and use funding for administration to stock the machines so students can collect a free meal there.
Adaptive Menu Ideas
A school board restricted from serving any fresh fruit considered ordering through a distributor like Sysco (pre-packaged apple slices and fruit cups that are sealed individually). *We recommend the fruit cups that are packed in water as opposed to syrup, as these have much less added sugar.
A grocery store is doing delivery of cheese strings and vegetables that are cut up. Individual milk cartons are also delivered.
Freezing yogurt with popsicle sticks can eliminate the need for spoons.
Rather than buying cheese strings, a school is buying pre-sliced blocks of cheese and cuts the slices in two, pairing with whole wheat crackers.
One school that can prepare food purchased a cheese slicer and makes quick cheese sticks from the large block to add to individual snack packs; cheese is much less expensive that way.
Here are some highlights of questions and responses shared from schools across the country:
Q: How are you planning to serve breakfast now with COVID changes?
- The staff are scheduled to support the program as part of their responsibilities in the school. They prepare fresh foods and support clean-up at the end of the day. Bins are organized and teachers pick up their class bin every morning. Teachers are the ones who safely handle the food after preparation.
- Just one person in the kitchen serves kids at the counter restaurant-style, with a guided path – one in and out at a time. All food will be prepped, and students follow the arrows, choose their food and go.
- We are making breakfast burritos ahead, then freezing them. When taking them out to serve for breakfast, we warm in the microwave or warmer.
Q: Serving breakfast to 18 classes is impossible so I’m struggling to get food to students.
- That is why I give the food to teachers. There just isn’t enough time for one person to distribute to all the classes.
- I take my cart of foods to each classroom, so that I can check in and make sure that everyone is getting what they need.
Q: Are we allowed to reach out to organizations such as Knights of Columbus to ask for extra funding?
- Solution from a Club coordinator : Certainly! We always encourage schools to look to multiple avenues of support for their program to ensure that it is sustainable, and local groups are a great choice (Rotary groups and Lions Clubs among others).