The first full week in March each year is National School Breakfast Week and to celebrate the occasion, the Helena School District presented some healthy student creations.
Schools across Helena debuted two healthy smoothies on Wednesday that will be added to the school menus.
The recipes for the smoothies were created by students from Shannon Callahan’s montessori class at Smith Elementary School.
Callahan said last year the students decided they wanted more healthy options for breakfast. They visited with Montana No Kid Hungry and came up with the ideas for smoothies based around food they have at home.
The students then worked with Sodexo, the school food service, to implement the recipes as a food option.
“I’m really proud of them and it’s really exciting to see kids making a difference. So many times they think they’re small and they can’t make an impact — and they can and they are! It’s really amazing,” said Callahan.
The ingredients for the smoothies are based around food in the students’ homes and included bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oatmeal, and yogurt.
The children at Smith Elementary also had the opportunity Wednesday to guess the “special” ingredient in the smoothies — spinach.
First Lady of Montana Lisa Bullock visited with the kids and praised them for their work in bettering their school district and being healthy.
“It’s so inspiring to see kids — you know first, second and third graders really take an active role in making a change in the community and making a change for the betterment of others,” said Bullock. “Making sure kids start their day healthy. It’s an incredible reason to come here and celebrate these children.”
Bullock has advocated for the implementation of new breakfast programs and alternative breakfast models across the state through the “Breakfast after the Bell” initiative.
“You can have the best teachers, you can have the best schools, but if they can’t focus on the academic task at hand then we are not allowing them to reach their full potential,” said Bullock.
The Food Research and Action Center annual School Breakfast Scorecard for the 2017-2018 school year showed Montana having the largest increase in the nation in school breakfast participation when compared to the previous year.
In a statement released by the Governor’s Office, Governor Steve Bullock praised the report and success of Montana school breakfast programs.
“These are real results for Montana and it shows that childhood hunger is a problem we can continue to solve,” said Governor Bullock. “Since my time in office, my wife Lisa and I have partnered with the private sector, schools and Montana No Kid Hungry to make breakfast part of the school day, and as a result, thousands more kids across our state are getting what they need to reach their highest potential.”
Of the 804 schools in the state that offer school lunch, 91.3 percent now offer school breakfast.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News