Why Not?

Why Not?

Twenty kids and I in my class jump out of our chairs and rush out the door as if there was a fire in the classroom. We continue on as some of us randomly drop down to their lockers. Some of us sprint down the hall to get in the lunch line. Once we get there and see the clock we are in a certain type of panic. Three minutes have gone by and some of us haven't even picked up a tray yet! We wait in line for another five and about half of our lunch has gone by before we can swallow a single bite of food. We try to munch down a sandwich, chips, and chug a whole milk carton in less than ten minutes. Then before we know it, we are told to throw away all our extra food and go back to class where no food is allowed. Our free time is over. Back to class once again without eating what our bodies needed.

There is a problem with school lunches in recent years and it is not dealing with how healthful they may or may not be. They are just too short, plain and simple. At Massabesic Middle School lunches are twenty minutes long, but do we really have twenty minutes to eat? Not a chance. One of us could be an Olympic sprinter and run down the hallway and still not have that long to eat. Many kids, including myself, have to go to their lockers to get lunch we brought while the others have to wait in line to get food. Either way we get our food is going to take up time. Also on top of waiting in line for the food, we need to wait in another line to pay for our lunches. It is a good thing we have the technology to buy them electronically or that could even add additional minutes that are wasted during lunch.

The National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) had a study done to find out the average time required by K-12 students to consume lunch. The average time to finish lunch was 7 to 10 minutes. School foodservice directors believe that students should have at least 20 minutes to eat after they sit down at a table with their food. We are definitely not getting that amount of time! How are we going to get 20 minutes at our table to eat if our lunch is 20 minutes long itself? Even if we are first in line we don't have that amount of time because we need to go to the cafeteria at the other end of school. How much harm could it cause to our educations if lunch was extended five to ten minutes?

You may wonder how a longer lunch would benefit kids but there are many reasons! When we eat slowly our bodies recognize when we are full. When we eat too fast we probably will eat past the point of where we are full. On average it takes our brains about twenty minutes to notice whether or not we are full. With only around ten minutes to eat how are we going to stop eating if we don't know if our bodies need more food? If we eat slowly we can even lose weight or not gain a lot of weight.. We just try to shovel everything in front of us down our throats before a teacher dismisses our table. Most times we can't finish everything we buy even while barely chewing. We could have been full after that chicken burger but we keep mowing down those chips on our tray. As teenagers we need the time to refuel and get energy for the rest of the day without getting sick from all the food we eat.

Eating slowly can also be better for our digestive system. When we eat slow we can break our food down in our mouths by chewing it more. Since this is what starts the process of digestion our stomachs and others parts of this system will not have to do as much work. This can help prevent future digestive problems. Who would want heartburn or nausea after they eat? Nobody I know!

When we eat fast and rush we are most likely thinking about what we need to do next. We can't enjoy our food and we get stressed out. Eating slowly can help us relax and take our mind off of what we were doing before lunch and what we need to do after. In life sometimes people just need time to take a break and slow down, especially teenagers. Taking a break from your work might help you get ideas when you return. Slowing things down when you can is a wonderful option.

We would all want our food to taste good right? Would it taste better if we barely chew or if we chew thoroughly? If we rush through school lunch, we will most likely rush through a sit down meal with our family. It won't show very good manners when we go out to a restaurant and finish our meal in ten minutes while your friends and family are chatting and are only a few bites into theirs. In America it seems that everyone wants almost everything done quicker now. Definitely in this case quicker is not better.

How much time would it even take out of classes to extend lunch for ten more minutes? If we took the time out of our three core classes each day it would only take about three minutes out of each class. So not that much at all. During each class we spend about that time gathering our belongings and walking to our next class. School could even start a whopping five minutes earlier and end five minutes later. Taking time out of homeroom wouldn't be so bad either since you don't do any work in it. I, like many other students would probably be willing to give up that time so we can socialize more and relax during the lunch block. Lunch traditionally used to be an hour at schools so why has it been reduced to a measly twenty minutes?

We want to look forward to lunch as a break but we can't if during it we know that it won't satisfy us. We want lunch to be fun and to help us take our mind off the work we are doing for a little while. We need the time as teenagers to socialize without being told to quiet down and to do work. While we are working it is such a relief when the teacher tells everyone that it is time to go to lunch, and let's be honest, the teachers must enjoy it too. While walking in the halls we just want to take a bite of something to at least get food in your stomach. Even after lunch we are still hungry and are wanting extra time so we can finish the food on our tray. Walking back to class kids are trying to finish conversations and some are bringing food back to class thinking that they can eat it or at least put it in their lockers for later. Extending lunch would let kids fill up and calm down.

Overall extending lunch blocks has a bunch of benefits and has nearly nothing bad about it. Would you want kids running out in the halls just to get in line? Is that really safe in a school where about two-hundred kids eat lunch at the same time? Is it good manners to eat out at a restaurant and finish before anybody has eaten anything? Is it good for your body to eat past when you are actually full? Would it actually affect students like myself in a negative way if we would miss three minutes out of each class? Is it good for kids to be barely chewing their food? The answer to all these question is NO! So why wouldn't it be a good idea to make lunch longer even by only five to ten minutes? I have absolutely no idea.





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