I don’t know if you have kept up on the trends with school lunches, but The National School Lunch program is really trying to offer more healthy options for kids who take hot lunch. The guidelines require kids to take one fruit and one veggie on their lunch plate. Unfortunately, according to an NPR article I read, they are taking it, but not necessarily eating it–which is leading to massive food waste. According to the article, they have estimated that kids are throwing away between 24-35% of what is on their plates each day. Yikes!
NPR sited a study that showed that when kids have recess BEFORE lunch, they ate 54% more fruits an veggies than those when they had lunch then recess. Apparently, a little activity stirred up their appetites, and instead of leaving unwanted items on the plate because they were full enough, they continued eating through the dreaded fruits and veggie stage. In addition, the study found that part of the reason kids didn’t eat their full lunches was because they were eager to get out to recess. When they reversed lunch and recess, kids didn’t rush through their meal. Totally makes sense, when you think about it. From a timing perspective, though, I guess it’s really hard on schools to get all the kids through lunch and recess when the schedules are reversed.
Meanwhile, maybe if schools offered fresh fruits like apples, pears or bananas, they would be able to get kids to eat more fruit…the only fruit I remember being on the lunch tray when I was a kid was canned fruit.
What do you think? Should schools switch the schedules to get kids to eat more nutritiously?
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