A girl wearing glasses drinks a carton of milk as part of her school lunch

Breakfast After the Bell

Breakfast after the bell allows all students equal access to breakfast and ensures everyone is ready to learn.

Breakfast after the Bell is a service delivery model where students eat breakfast in their classroom after the official start of the school day. Students or staff may deliver breakfasts to classrooms from the cafeteria via coolers or insulated rolling bags, or school nutrition staff can serve breakfast from mobile carts in the hallways.

Breakfast in the Classroom typically takes 10 – 15 minutes and can happen during morning tasks such as attendance or it can be integrated with other instructional activities. Some schools encourage teachers to participate in the program and eat with their students.

Breakfast After the Bell Resources

What educators have found after implementing a Breakfast After the Bell Program:

have seen an improvement in student alertness during morning sessions
have seen an uptick in attendance
have seen a decrease in visits to the school nurse

Grab n’ Go

Grab n’ Go is a service delivery model where students pick up conveniently packaged breakfasts from mobile service carts in high traffic areas, such as hallways, entryways or cafeterias, when they arrive at school or between classes.

Students can eat in the cafeteria, the classroom or elsewhere on school grounds. The Grab n’ Go model is often used in middle and high schools because it is so flexible and can accommodate varying schedules and students who are on the move.

Young man grabbing a milk carton from a school dairy cart

Second Chance Breakfast

Second Chance Breakfast refers to a meal service model where students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often after first period or midway between breakfast and lunch. Schools can serve breakfast in the same manner as they would with traditional Grab n’ Go breakfast.

This model can be particularly effective for older students who may not be hungry first thing in the morning or may opt to hang out with friends. Second Chance Breakfast may be referred to by a variety of names, such as Breakfast After First Period, School Brunch or Mid-Morning Nutrition Break.


82% of schools that adopt Breakfast After the Bell see increased meal participation.

This is because serving breakfast during the school day eliminates stigma and improves access for everyone.

Breakfast Vending

Breakfast Vending allows students to access breakfast foods though vending machines. This model is most often implemented in high schools and vending machines are usually only available prior to the start of the school day.The American Dairy Association North East proudly supports programs aimed to improve the health of children in schools with dairy and nutrition education.

Two young women drinking chocolate milk

National School Lunch Program


School lunch is an ever-evolving program in the U.S. – one that gets better each year! Did you know many schools in our region now offer salad bars and fresh, from-scratch meals?

School meals are required to serve milk with each meal. Choices to offer are 1% or fat-free white, and 1% or fat-free flavored milk. The required serving size is 8 fluid ounces.

Your school nutrition team works hard every day to make sure students are served healthy, balanced meals that meet USDA requirements.

Learn More About Our School Nutrition Programs Here

School Meals in Action