According to the American Heart Association, 15.4% of children ages 6-19 were obese in 2000. Greasy, deep-fried foods are partly to blame, and the foods can still be found in many school cafeterias. Experts are telling us to stay away from fast food, but many students and school employees eat these unhealthy meals five times a week. To avoid this, students and teachers should pack their lunches, since this gives them more control over what they eat.
By packing lunches, you can pack a healthy amount of food and control overeating. The newly revised Food Guide Pyramid explains the serving sizes and number of servings for each food group (meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains, et cetera). Following these is a great way to eat a healthy amount of food. Overeating is known to be a leading cause of obesity. Childhood obesity from 1980 to 2000 has increased tremendously, from 7% to 15.3%, and the number of obese teens rose from 5% to 15.5%. This number is continuing to increase drastically.
Cafeterias don’t always have foods you like, but packing your own lunch puts you in the driver’s seat. You can include food that is healthy and delicious. There have been a number of times that I’ve seen students, myself included, skip lunch because we didn’t like the selection. Students, especially younger ones, can feel more in charge if they make their own lunches.
Almost every aspect of life will be improved by eating better foods for lunch. Healthy foods lead to improvements in all of your body systems. One example is Vitamin K, found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, which helps improve your eyesight. Another example is whole wheat, which gives you more energy than fats and sugars. These are only a couple of examples that impact your body.
Students and teachers can lead healthier lives by packing lunches instead of eating cafeteria food. Bringing your lunch helps control overeating, obesity, and gives you more control over your life. It also keeps your entire body healthier. Students and teachers, pack your lunch instead of jeopardizing your health!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.