Written by experts at Feed the Children

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity is at times during the year, the food intake of household members is reduced, and their normal eating patterns are disrupted because the household lacks money and other resources for food.

Here are a few ways to help identify hunger in your classroom:

  • Anxiety around meal and snack time
  • Sudden exhaustion, tiredness and lack of attention in class resulting in decreased classroom performance
  • Hoarding food, which results in general protectiveness over resources, as well as asking for seconds and cleaning their plate of all food

Once hunger has been identified in your classroom, the following are ways you can help:

  1. Provide students with a small nutritious breakfast.

    Many children facing chronic hunger are not getting a balanced breakfast. Even if a child just has an apple with a glass of milk in the morning, it can make all the difference. If they have a small breakfast rich in fiber or protein, it can jump start the brain and help with energy in the classroom, leading to better concentration and less exhaustion.

  2. Educate students about healthy eating habits.

    If you can introduce healthier eating habits into your students’ lives, especially at an early age, you can help them receive the crucial nutrients they need for proper development. Children are more likely to grow up making healthier choices if they are taught to follow the USDA’s recommended dietary guidelines in the classroom and at home.

  3. Have an honest discussion with your students.

    If your student voices their concerns over not having enough food during the day, ask them if they ate breakfast. Or, if you find they are skipping meals, ask why. Asking the important questions helps you assess their need and lets your student feel like they are heard. You can let them know they are not alone, and that help is available.

  4. Be their advocate.

    Children are the most vulnerable population in our society, and they need our voices to make a difference. By joining with community partners, we can spread the word about childhood hunger and the effects it has on their growth and development. Get involved in their future by encouraging administrators and the community to take action. Check out the many resources available to you and your students to help them during their time of need. It will take all of us working together to defeat hunger in the classroom.

About Feed the Children

At Feed the Children, we feed hungry kids. We envision a world where no child goes to bed hungry. In the U.S. and internationally, we are dedicated to helping families and communities achieve stable lives and to reducing the need for help tomorrow, while providing food and resources to help them today. We distribute product donations from corporate donors to local community partners, we provide support for teachers and students, and we mobilize resources quickly to aid recovery efforts when natural disasters strike. Internationally, we manage child-focused community development programs in
countries. We welcome partnerships because we know our work would not be possible without collaborative relationships.

Visit feedthechildren.org for more information.