Best Practices: Breakfast for Lunch

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Solutions that boost participation. Crunch for Lunch. Nourish Kids for What’s Next logo. Honey Cheerios cereal cup, Trix cereal package, illustrated pencil and cereal pieces on blue background.

Use breakfast products in interesting and easy-to-execute ways

Getting students to participate in school meals programs ensures that they have access to nutritious meals. The best way to get students involved in your school meals program is to get them excited about what you’re offering. And no matter what time of day it is, kids are going to get excited about breakfast food.

Serving breakfast for lunch is an excellent way to drum up excitement for your meal program as well as participation. Breakfast for lunch also provides a quick and easily enjoyed meal when seated lunchtime is limited. There are so many ways to make breakfast items a filling and satisfying lunch that will keep students energized for their afternoon ahead.

When it comes to serving breakfast for lunch, K-12 Corporate Chefs Monica Coulter and Heather Swan have some tips.

Lunch tray with apple wedges, carrot and celery sticks, Honey Cheerios cereal cup, milk carton, raisins, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and “Bees on a Branch” recipe.
  1. Cereal, frozen baked goods, and biscuits are your friends. These products are tools that you can use to create meals that are always satisfying, and sometimes unexpected.
  2. Use this as an opportunity to create a heartier meal as you follow the meal pattern for lunch versus breakfast. While for breakfast, you may serve a 2 oz equivalent grain cereal, for lunch, you may find a hearty 2 oz equivalent grain biscuit with meat to be more appropriate.
  3. As operators, you have enough to think about when it comes to planning menus. General Mills Foodservice chefs created recipe books full of simple recipes that won’t drastically increase your prep time and effort but will interest students.
  4. Embrace the breakfast leftovers and reinvent them for lunch.
  5. Involve students whenever possible, doing tastings with students to determine what they like and what they might buy. It allows you to include them in the food they eat, and for older kids, you can even explain some of the regulations so they understand what you as an operator are working with.

Here are some practical applications for students’ favorite breakfast foods repurposed for lunch.

Cereals from brands kids love

Who said cereal is just for breakfast? Cereal makes an easy grab-and-go snack, and adding milk helps kids get the dairy they need and the nutrients that come along with it. General Mills Foodservice has 25% less-sugar options for some of kids' favorite brands, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch™, Trix™, and Honey Cheerios™. Plus, General Mills Foodservice K-12 cereals come in a 1 oz bowlpak or 2 oz equivalent grain package. Both size options include room for milk. (If you’re confused by seeing different size packages for the 2 oz equivalent grain package, don’t be! The package size is dependent on the volume of each cereal.)

Chef Monica highlights the autonomy cereal gives kids when it comes to making food choices, and the ability to come up with their own creative food combinations. She said, “I think of cereal with children as a favorite snack. The ideas I’ve come up with in the Crunch for Lunch [recipe book] are based on snacking . . . it gives them choice.” As a foodservice operator, you can embrace the unexpected with cereal-based trail mix using bulk cereal and products you already have.

Get students excited with frozen baked goods

If you’re serving frozen baked goods for breakfast and end up with leftovers, now is the perfect time to think creatively about how to use what’s left for lunch. Chef Monica recommends using leftover Pillsbury™ Freezer-to-Oven Whole Grain Frozen Cinnamon Roll Dough to make simple peach cobblers with diced leftover cinnamon rolls, canned peaches, and a hint of cinnamon or blueberry trifles with yogurt, blueberries, and diced leftover cinnamon rolls.

Female student smiling and raising a spoonful of yogurt with berries to her mouth, cinnamon roll in the other hand, with a male student eating in foreground.

Make savory and sweet meals with biscuits

With Pillsbury™ Biscuit Dough, you can create a wide array of satisfying breakfast-for-lunch goodies that will excite students. According to Chef Monica, the key to transforming reduced sodium Pillsbury™ Frozen Biscuit Dough from a side into a lunch entree is telling yourself, “This isn’t a biscuit . . . All you have to do is thaw it, change the shape a little bit differently, and you can do all sorts of things with it.” You can prepare cinnamon-sugar-covered biscuit bites with yogurt dip, or transform the frozen biscuit dough into English Biscuffins ready to get stacked high with a sausage patty, egg, and cheese for a filling sandwich. Or, Chef Monica recommends using the familiar biscuit as a bridge to global flavors your students may be less familiar with, and encourage them to try something new.

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