KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Kalamazoo Public Schools is debuting a new fresh breakfast program this school year.
Jessica Wheeler visited one of the schools to see how it's helping teach kids about the importance of healthy eating.
With the majority of students relying on free or reduced breakfast and lunch at Kalamazoo Public Schools, their food service program, Chartwells, is using it as an opportunity to provide more fresh and local foods, starting with the most important meal of the day.
It’s the busy start to the school day at Washington Writers’ Academy in Kalamazoo. Along with the books and backpacks heading into the classrooms, teachers are also bringing breakfast right to their students' desks.
"Breakfast in the classroom gives out students the jump start they need for a great day of learning,” said Lanisha Hannah-Spiller, the Principal at Washington Writers' Academy.
Every elementary school in Kalamazoo Public Schools provides free breakfast to students, and this year 15 of the 17 schools are trying out new fresh items right in the classroom.
"We're trying to break away from the traditional breakfast and expand the varieties that we offer,” said Christina Haller, the Resident District Manager for Chartwells at Kalamazoo Public Schools.
Many students eat their first meal of the day with their classmates, giving teachers a chance to start the day on a good note.
"It kind of levels the playing field a bit for all of our students so they all are able to have that nutritious breakfast and that piece is out of the way and we can get to the business that we do,” said Hannah-Spiller.
The goal is to introduce students to new breakfast items that are focused on fresher food, whole grains, dairy and protein beyond milk.
On this day the kids were enjoying yogurt parfaits with fruit and Cheerios, along with apples from a West Michigan farm.
"We're trying to add more local products as we can throughout the month,” said Haller.
The meals are educating as much as they are nourishing.
"It's a great opportunity to teach students how to eat healthy and expand their taste buds,” said Haller.
Chartwells also has a cell phone app that gives KPS parents a monthly menu for breakfast and lunch and shows them the nutritional information for all meals served.