Time constraints of any sort can be almost be stressful.
Imagine having to finish all your food in 20 minutes or less during lunch-time? It may not feel like much of a lunch but more of a marathon or food-eating contest.
What’s more is once time’s up, you got to pack up whatever you couldn’t finish or even waste it, especially if you’re a slow eater, then almost 3/4th’s of that lunch would probably be left on your plate.
Keeping this scenario in mind, recent research suggests that your child may not getting enough time to eat well at school.
This a new study because most dietary research has always been focused on the quality of the lunches kids have at school but never the amount of time they get to even consume them.
Eric Rimm, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University, worked with his colleagues and conducted a study on the eating habits of around 1,001 students from six different elementary and middle schools, that were from low-income urban school districts in the state of Massachusetts.1
The average lunch time is said to be around 20 minutes in most schools. And upon further discovery, they observed what the kids chose to eat, how much they ate and what was left on their plates at the end of lunch.
Results showed that the kids with less than 20 minutes for lunch, ate close to 13 percent of their entrees, lower than 12 percent of their vegetables and drank only 10 percent of their milk, compared to those with more time.
What’s more is within less than half an hour, kids have to also stand in lunch lines for over 10 minutes. This makes them have to gobble up their food, which can contribute to serious weight gain, slowing metabolism and even mess up their digestive cues that tell them when they’re hungry and even when they’re actually full.
Another aspect of this is at what time those lunches happen. Some lunches come during day-time such as 10.30 am, which enables kids to skip breakfast and go straight for their school lunches.
The long time gap between meals, makes them famished when they come home and even lead them to come home only to stuff their faces with junk food, which can have ill-effects on their digestive systems in the long-run.
It may seem like this is a great way for kids to battle obesity by eating less. However, the meals kids have in schools contribute to most of their daily nutritional value because they spend most of their time in a day at school, making this a weight-gain issue.
In addition, the lunches eaten at school have a higher amount of fruits and vegetables than the ones they have at home. This makes it vital for them to have more time to eat it.
Just imagine these kids having to eat up those vegetables, main meals, milk, juice, fruits etc. in such less time. More often than not they probably skip out on eating that fruit, using the excuse that the bell rang for class before they could get to it.
This study was conducted on young kids and could also be applied to those who are older like high-school or college kids, who have the option to go out and eat whatever they like, such as a greasy cheese-burger to pizza.
Hopefully, school admins would take this research into consideration and allow more time for lunch and lessen the time spent in those lunch lines.
As they say, “Think about the children.” For real.
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