Getting kids off to school in the morning is no easy task. With alarms blaring, shoes that need to be tied and buses to catch, sometimes it’s a miracle just to get everyone out the door. For many Americans, finding time to squeeze a nutritious breakfast into that mix is a tall order, and often children are sent off to school with empty stomachs. Difficult as Monday mornings may be, studies show that it’s worth setting the alarm a bit earlier to provide kids with a nutritious breakfast. In addition to being an important opportunity for growing kids to get necessary nutrients like whole grains, eating a nutritious breakfast can help satiate overall appetite for the day and lower levels of obesity. Eating a healthy breakfast also can better prepare kids for success in the classroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies show that eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function - especially memory – as well as improved mood and a reduction in absence from school. As part of our System-wide commitment to improving America’s health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is applying the Power of Blue – Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ collective ability to make a difference in the health of our communities – to improve overall health across Michigan by expanding access to nutritious breakfasts in schools. When Michigan state Superintendent Mike Flanagan issued a challenge to all Michigan schools - raise breakfast participation to at least 60 percent of lunch participation rates by moving breakfast into the classroom – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan answered the call. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan teamed up with United Dairy Industry of Michigan to provide support to 75 schools across the state to start, grow or sustain a breakfast in the classroom program. Schools receiving the grant responded by customizing their breakfast service to meet their individual needs, from grab-and-go breakfasts and breakfasts in the classroom to breakfast vending machines, breakfasts on the bus and more. The benefits for students have been outstanding. Breakfast is now part of the school day, with 35,000 more students starting their day with a healthy meal. To learn more about this program, or other examples of The Power of Blue at work, check out the full Investing in America’s Health report.