Metz Culinary Management, Inc. (Metz) fuels K-12 and higher education students for success through its Breakfast Initiative, which includes participation in Metz’s Healthy Start Breakfast Program (higher ed) and National School Breakfast Week® (K-12).
HEALTHY START BREAKFAST PROGRAM
Metz’s Healthy Start Breakfast program is designed for higher education dining partners to teach students, faculty and staff about the myriad benefits of starting the day with a balanced breakfast. The program has three core components, including nutritionist and campus executive chef cuisine, education and incentives. The program began in January 2023 and runs through the Spring semester at Lebanon College in Annville, Pennsylvania, and Albion College in Albion, Michigan.
“We created the Healthy Start Breakfast program because we noticed that a lot of college students were skipping breakfast, which puts them behind nutritionally from the start,” said Morgan Walker MS, RD, LDN, Sports Nutrition and Wellness Manager at Lebanon Valley College for Metz. “We wanted to help students, as well as faculty and staff, realize that breakfast is one of the easiest ways to increase energy, promote recovery from exercise, lessen cravings for unhealthy food and sugar and facilitate better weight management.”
To help guests choose healthy breakfast options, Metz’s nutritionists and executive chefs create a variety of protein-rich breakfast offerings, including:
- Veggie omelet with low-fat cheese and whole wheat toast
- Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk
- Oatmeal with fruit, peanut butter and chia seeds
- Greek yogurt parfait with berries and almonds
- Scrambled eggs with breakfast potatoes, fruit and turkey sausage
- Whole grain bagel with egg and avocado
Education is central to the Healthy Start Breakfast program. On-campus nutritionists spend significant time educating guests about the power of a balanced breakfast through wellness events, workshops and team presentations.
To incentivize starting the day with a healthy breakfast, the two colleges launched a punch card program. Guests earn one stamp for each breakfast they eat at the campus dining hall, and for every ten stamps, the guest earns a free meal. In addition, a series of Instagram posts with healthy breakfast tips encourages students, faculty and staff to start their day in a healthy way.
NATIONAL SCHOOL BREAKFAST WEEK (NSBW)
NSBW celebrates the importance of starting the day with a nutritious school breakfast by highlighting the nation’s School Breakfast program for participating K-12 schools. NSBW is an annual nutrition education and information campaign sponsored by the School Nutrition Association held in early-to-mid March.
“Metz encourages our K-12 chefs and dining partners to create special events and feature menu items that engage with students and help them see the benefits of a healthy breakfast,” said Maureen Metz, Executive Vice President for Metz. “Once the week has ended, we encourage our schools to share details and photos of how they celebrated the week.”
Throughout NSBW, Metz provides ideas and tips for its chefs and school dining partners, including this 11-point playbook:
- Feature a variety of K-12 breakfast recipes throughout the week
- Provide a build-your-own bar on the Bravo or Main Plate station with:
- Overnight oatmeal
- Breakfast sandwiches or burritos
- Smoothie bowls
- Offer tie-dye donuts as a special breakfast treat
- Have samples of Simply Smoothie breakfast smoothies for students to try
- Hold a demonstration for consumer science classes in high school(s)/secondary school(s) on how to make a smoothie or smoothie bowl
- Work with school districts and athletic teams to arrange for student-athletes from different teams to visit the elementary schools on a specific day during the week and eat breakfast with elementary students
- Schedule the school mascot to visit different cafeterias throughout the week (with the school district’s permission)
- Set up a table in the cafeteria where students can taste a small selection of fruits cut into bite-sized pieces and then vote for their favorite fruit
- Hang NBW posters in their cafeterias
- Offer NSBW activity and coloring sheets available for students and post them in the cafeteria
- Hold Lucky Tray Days throughout the week and give away stickers available through the School Nutrition Association online store
Metz also encourages its chefs and school dining partners to rotate events across the week to build excitement throughout the celebration.
With its Breakfast Initiative, Metz ensures that diners benefit from higher nutritional intake, boosted athletic and academic performance and healthy eating habits that students can carry with them throughout their lives.