School Breakfast Program (SBP)

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) operates in public and private schools, providing nutritionally balanced food each school day. Federal child nutrition programs like SBP reduce child hunger and promote good nutrition. Research shows that children who eat breakfast score better on tests, show improved learning skills and memory retention, and have lower rates of tardiness and absenteeism.[1]  With 1 in 6 children in the United States living in a food insecure household[2],  SBP plays a critical role in the healthy development and long-term health and educational outcomes for low-income children.

How SBP Works

SBP is a federally assisted meal program and is administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service at the federal level. At the state level, the program is usually administered by state education agencies that operate SBP through agreements with local school food authorities.[3]  Schools receive a cash reimbursement for each meal they serve.

Low-income children at participating schools are eligible for reduced-price or free meals. Children in households with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty level or those receiving SNAP or TANF qualify for free meals, and those with family incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the poverty line qualify for reduced-price meals.

School breakfasts must meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that recommend no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat and that less than 10 percent come from saturated fat. Additionally, school breakfasts must provide a quarter of the recommended allowance for protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calories.

Additional Resources

SBP Website:


[1] Breakfast and Learning: An updated Review, Current Nutrition & Food Science. Vol. 3, p. 3-36. 2007

[2] Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, Mark Nord, Anita Singh. Household Food Security in the United States in 2012.  ERR-125, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. September 2013. 

[3] U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, School Breakfast Program Fact Sheet.