March 4 through March 8 was National School Breakfast week, and in Lexington-Richland School District Five, Student Nutrition staff shared the importance of “the most important meal of the day” through creative contests and activities at schools throughout the district.

Nearly 3,500 students eat breakfast in cafeterias each school day in School District Five. According to the School Nutrition Association, students who eat breakfast before school tend to reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math, score higher on standardized tests, have better concentration and memory, and are more alert and maintain a healthy weight.

This year, the Student Nutrition Association celebrated the occasion through the theme of “Start Your Engines With School Breakfast.” School District Five partnered with sponsor Borden Dairy to have students participate in a Borden Milk Carton Race Car (Carton) Contest.

Students choosing to eat breakfast at the school took their empty Borden milk cartons home and were asked to create a car out of Nursery Road Elementary Arts Magnet second grade student Jordan Thompson participated in the contest and was decided the winner by a panel of School District Five judges, receiving a Fire HD 8 Tablet. Honorable mentions included first grader Webb Favati from River Springs Elementary and kindergartener Adriana Jenkins from Chapin Elementary.

Todd Bedenbaugh, Director of Student Nutrition knows how important a quality breakfast can have on students.

“School breakfast provides a lot of key nutrients, like calcium and fiber, that help students stay focused and start the school day off right,” said Bedenbaugh.  “Many call it the most important meal of the day. Breakfast has many benefits, and School District Five’s student nutrition team is proud to play a role in helping students succeed.”

Students also completed a National School Breakfast Week coloring sheet contest, sponsored by General Mills, in hopes of receiving a $25 Regal Cinema gift card from the judging panel. Sydney Thornton, a fifth grader from H. E. Corley Elementary Leadership Magnet was the overall winner.

Bedenbaugh added that his hope is to use the Breakfast Week as a way to show off the food served in cafeterias each day.

“Some students may not know we have a breakfast program, so it is a way to encourage students to come to the cafeteria and learn what options are available for breakfast every day for them,” said Bedenbaugh. “Eating school breakfast provides fuel for our students throughout the day.”

The school breakfast program is available in all district schools and includes menu items such as cereal, fruits, milk, grits, sausage and more. School District Five serves approximately 13,000 meals a day district-wide. School District Five Student Nutrition initiatives also include the Farm to Five program, annual district student Chopped competition, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Food Truck Grant winner for Summer Feeding and also has received three consecutive USDA Best Practice Awards.

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