Students’ Marketing Power Boosts Breakfast Participation

Renae Tindall, Teacher, Whitehall District Schools, Whitehall, MI

Renae Tindall, teacher extraordinaire at Ealy Elementary School, says if you want to get student buy in for breakfast – or anything else  – you have to allow students to take the lead.  And, take the lead and run with it is exactly what students at Ealy did: their student-created oatmeal bar resulted in a 75% increase in school breakfast participation!

Oatmeal-licious, a once-a-week school breakfast choice, offers up hot homemade oatmeal with a variety of creative toppings that are named after NFL teams.  Getting  the oatmeal bar up and running was a task that involved students at all levels, from planning to production.  Tindall says, “We could not have gotten this project off the ground without the help of our Fuel Up to Play 60 student team. 

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and the NFL in collaboration with USDA. The main focus of the program is to encourage and empower students to be active 60 minutes a day and to choose and eat healthy foods. One of the guiding principles of Fuel Up to Play 60 is to involve student leaders at every phase in making positive changes to the school nutrition and physical activity environment.

Renae initially asked the Fuel Up to Play 60 student team, “What do you and your friends want to eat for breakfast?  How should it look?  How should it be served? Then, she let the student team take the lead and solve the problem. Students came up with the idea of creating and marketing oatmeal as a fun breakfast choice. 

At Whitehall, the student FUTP 60 team took part in every aspect of offering the delicious oatmeal breakfast to their peers. They created signs and displays to market Oatmeal-licious, decided on what kind of and how many toppings to offer, and helped set up and take down the oatmeal bar. They were also responsible for dishing up the oatmeal for their fellow students while encouraging them to try new and healthy toppings they may not have tried before.

Whitehall, Foodservice Director, Dan Gorman says he believes that the success of Oatmeal-licous came from the  hard work and leadership of Renae Tindall, and from  giving students the power to make their own choices about what they want to eat.  

Currently, Oatmeal-licious operates in two schools: Ealy Elementary and Whitehall Middle Schools. 

This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here!


Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Renae Tindall, Teacher, Whitehall District Schools, Whitehall, MI