The World Food Prize Foundation

March 2016

Midwest Dairy Council supporting Iowa schools to reduce stigma, increase access to breakfast

“You will love Breakfast in the Classroom, when we implemented the program we saw a significant improvement in classroom behavior. I had 50% fewer morning referrals to my office.”  – School Administrator, Des Moines

 While breakfast remains to be the most important meal of the day, only 13 million students consume school breakfast compared to the 31 million students who consume school lunch.  Much of this is due to the stereotype that breakfast is for students who are certified for free or reduced priced meals. To help reduce stigma and encourage participation, the Midwest Dairy Council helps schools across Iowa implement programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘n’ go breakfast, and second chance breakfast.

For example, Midwest Dairy is partnering with Marshalltown Community Schools to introduce Grab ‘n’ go breakfast into their middle and high schools. Students can now quickly grab a pre-packaged, nutritious breakfast from the school’s Grab ‘n’ go breakfast kiosk and eat it in the cafeteria, the classroom or on the school grounds in Miller Middle School. By providing students with more flexibility about where and when they eat breakfast, Marshalltown’s goal is to reach 50% student participation in the school breakfast program. Midwest Dairy is funding similar partnerships in Decorah, Iowa City, and Oskaloosa.

Another way for qualifying schools to reduce stigma and increase participation in school breakfast programs is to implement a universal breakfast program. Schools serving 80% free and reduced price breakfasts are eligible to eliminate the income test, and instead provide (and receive reimbursement for) free breakfasts for all students. Midwest Dairy is partnering with three elementary schools in Des Moines to combine universal breakfast with Breakfast in the Classroom, with the goal of reaching 75% student participation. So far, the partnership has resulted in 97,920 additional meals served, improving student concentration and reducing disciplinary referrals.

The Midwest Dairy Council is currently soliciting applications for two funding partnerships as part of their continued focus on improving student and family nutrition:

School Nutrition Equipment Grants of up to $5,000 in total value are available for the 2016-2017 School Year. The purpose of these grants is to assist School Nutrition Directors in the purchase of equipment that will enhance the long term implementation of their school breakfast and lunch programs. More information and application details are online at:

Education mini-grants of up to $200 are available for RDN’s, school nutrition professionals, chefs, dietetic interns, or university extension nutritionists. This mini grant is intended to help educate families utilizing emergency food assistance about how to incorporate dairy foods into a healthy well balanced meal or snack to boost nutrition. The mini grant award will be used to educate clients and families in a food pantry setting by providing nutrition education and conducting a food demonstration preparing a low cost, minimal ingredient recipe which includes dairy as an ingredient. More information and application details are online at:

For more information about Midwest Dairy Council’s school breakfast partnerships and funding opportunities, or to be connected with current partner schools, please contact Ms. Erin Thole at or 515-965-4625.

Photo Credits: Midwest Dairy, Grab n' Go breakfast station (top), Breakfast in Classroom tray (bottom)

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