VIP Focus: School Breakfast Remains a High Priority for Michigan Schools

DashBoard, Sept. 2, 2015

Submitted by Brent Bishop, Manager, UDIM School Foodservice Programs

Did you know that breakfast at school not only provides low income students with much needed fuel and nutrition, it also helps improves concentration, alertness, comprehension and performance on standardized tests? When eaten in the classroom, teachers see fewer tardy days and less disciplinary referrals. By working with schools to meet their individual needs, United Dairy Industry of Michigan supports Grab-n-Go Breakfast, Breakfast in the Classroom, Second Chance Breakfast and a new program, Smoothies!

At UDIM, our slogan is “Milk Means More.” And when it comes to smoothies, it means more than white milk. It means milk, yogurt and fruit! Fruit and dairy smoothies are on-trend and perfect for teen breakfast skippers. Not only do they provide bone-building calcium and protein, when served with a whole-grain muffin, a smoothie is a reimbursable breakfast. A 15-school pilot program in 2015 showed a 2.5 percent increase in breakfast participation with middle and high school students who have traditionally been a challenge to engage in the school breakfast program. May not sound like much but it adds up to significantly more students getting the nutrition they need. As a result, we created a Smoothie grant program and qualifying schools can get a high-capacity, industrial strength blender to start a Smoothie program.

Where else does Milk Mean More? Lattes for high schoolers! Coffee drinks are United States Department of Agriculture approved for high school students. Offering lattes at school gets students out of the convenience store or local coffee shop and to school on time. Did you know a 12-ounce latte has eight ounces of milk? Pair it with a piece of fruit and a whole-grain muffin and it might be a reimbursable breakfast that teens will wake-up for! Another one of our ideas to get breakfast into students to help them be better prepared to learn.

Other ways Milk Means More in schools:

  • Jump With Jill Rock N’ Roll Nutrition assemblies
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 nutrition and fitness program in partnership with the National Football League
  • Free educational materials
  • Provide technical assistance to develop or increase school breakfast participation

UDIM partners with the Michigan Department of Education and Team Nutrition to grow the number of schoolchildren participating in school breakfast, supporting former State Superintendent Mike Flanagan’s challenge to increase breakfast participation through his “First Fuel Breakfast Challenge.” The state has improved its ranking from 41st nationally in 2008 to 14th in 2014.

This year, the National Dairy Council celebrates its centennial anniversary of providing nutrition education to schools. We continue to provide science-based nutrition and fitness programs to kids of all ages to help them reach their full potential. As our audience changes, we have stepped up to meet their needs. UDIM is also working to help alleviate food insecurity—in partnership with organizations and individuals who share common goals around building a better tomorrow.

If you are interested in a breakfast or nutrition program with support from UDIM for your schools, we are happy to provide expertise and resources. Contact us at 800-241-MILK.

Brent Bishop is the Manager, UDIM School Foodservices Programs and can be reached at or 517.349.8923.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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