Why Do Students Should Have More Time to Eat Food?
In school did you ever have the feeling that you had to quickly eat your food and then feel hungry only a few hours later? This is happening to many students across the nation. Students have to hurry to eat their food, which then causes their hunger to arise towards the end of the day, and sometimes distracts them from their work. Many schools are looking to change their lunch periods, and for the better. School lunches need to be on average longer across the nation, allowing students to socialize and take a break, eat healthier meals, and ultimately improve test scores.
One might object that a longer lunch period just means more time to socialize for students, they will be unproductive with their time. This is an understandable concern, however, at my high school we had an hour long lunch period, which we ironically called NEST because we were the Seahawks. An hour for a student means they can do various tasks, and for us students we had our lunch periods planned to a T. During this time, teachers would have the first (blue block) or second half (silver block) open for students to get help, makeup work, or redo work. Clubs had meetings, instead of after school because many students could not find rides. We even had detention during NEST. A student could earn a NEST detention because they are late to 3rd period. Since we have so much time to get to our 3rd period which was after lunch. Anyone could catch up on their homework and get help from their peers, all while eating their lunch. There were shows, assemblies, and various sources of entertainment that took place during our lunch period. Our hour long period not only allowed us to relax from classes, but also seek out help without worrying if someone could pick us up or sports interfering after school.
With a long lunch all students eat lunch at once, meaning that a student could socialize with anyone. People can find new friends or do not have to worry about if their friend has the same lunch as them, because everyone is together at once. Students also have time to meet to do projects together instead of meeting after school. In his article ‘Longer Lunch Periods Help One School Get Ahead', former high school principal Kenneth P. Nye wrote, "not only would students have time during the long lunch to meet together, but also, so would we (teachers)" (2001). This time is beneficial for teachers as well because they have a longer break to eat and catch up, along with having meetings with other teachers or administrators during the allotted time. A longer lunch supports everyone to accomplish something other than sit and learn or stand and teach for seven hours, five days a week.
Short lunches for students who do not pack lunches have a short amount of time to wait in a long line to get their lunch and then sit down and eat all their food. This process has to be done on an average of 25 minutes for high schoolers. During this small amount of time, students are not eating healthy food. In her article ‘School Lunches are Too Short. And That's a Problem', Holly Korbey explains, "A 2015 study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health found that students who had less than 20 minutes to eat ate significantly less of the healthy food on their plates" (2017). Eating a fresh salad would take more time than to eat a microwaved pizza or chicken nugget. Eating a whole apple would take longer than to eat applesauce. There is more chewing involved with nutritious food, taking someone longer to eat than the average, unhealthy school lunches.
Not only does a longer lunch promote healthier eating, it also improves test scores. In his article ‘Does Eating a Good School Lunch Make You Smarter?', Adam Voiland says, "showing that improving the nutritional quality of school meals bolstered the academic performance of students over a two-year period" (2008). With regular school lunches, which contain extreme amounts of sugar. A lot of sugar means that students become hyper and then crash, becoming, tired and do not pay attention in class. In the article ‘Do Healthy Lunches Improve Student Test Scores?', Melinda D. Anderson quotes Professor Sean Patrick Corcoran, "Students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired, are more attentive in class, and retain more information" (2017). As before, without the unnatural sugars in their meals students perform better. Even eating a healthy lunch would encourage a student to eat a healthy dinner or snacks as well. The healthier options allow a student to sleep well at night, and makes a student feel overall better about their body and mind.
Lunches need to be longer for every student, but especially high schoolers. Creating a longer lunch has many positives that encourage students to be at their best during the day while they learn and take tests. With a longer lunch, students no longer have to worry about being hungry after eating or in some cases, worry about having to stay after school.
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