‘Too much on our plate’: Students need longer lunches

Feb. 3, 2022

By Emily Melleno

Breakfast may be known as “the most important meal of the day,” but teenagers would beg to differ. Almost 60% of students sometimes skip breakfast, and 14% never eat this meal. Therefore, lunch is the first meal of the day for many students. It is also a time to socialize, participate in school clubs and get extra help from teachers. Therefore, LHS’ 47-minute lunch period is simply not long enough.

The main reason students need a longer lunch period is because of the long lines they inevitably encounter. Whether they are picking up lunch in the cafeteria or purchasing it at a nearby dining establishment, long lines are tedious, nerve-racking and unavoidable. 

By the time a student gets their lunch, it is already time for them to go back to class. This causes students to rush to eat their food, and this can lead to physical health problems. 

Typically, it takes the body 20 minutes to send a signal to the brain indicating that it is full. Therefore, people who eat quickly tend to overeat. Eating fast can also lead to bloating. If lunch were to be longer, then it would give students more time not only to digest their food but avoid future physical health problems that could be caused by fast eating. 

In addition to physical health, longer lunches could be the time when students get extra help to improve their academic performance. Typically, when a student needs assistance with a class or has to make up a test, they visit their teacher during lunchtime.

Unfortunately, due to long cafeteria lines, by the time a student arrives at their teacher’s classroom, lunch is already halfway over. By then, students are so focused on making up their work or getting extra help that they forget to eat their lunch, which leads to them having to throw it away. Not only does this affect a student’s physical health, but it is also a waste of food. 

According to CBS News affiliate WSBT, students throw away about 10-13% of their meal because they do not have enough time to eat. Therefore, longer lunches would reduce food waste and save students from spending money on food they never got the chance to eat.

Along with students using lunch as their time to receive extra help or make up assignments, some also have band lessons or club meetings during lunch. Most clubs only meet once a month, so students do not want to miss these meetings. As a result, they either skip lunch or throw away part of their lunch so they can spend more time engaged in their club’s activities or lessons.

By the time a student gets their lunch, it is already time for them to go back to class. This causes students to rush to eat their food, and this can lead to physical health problems.

Finally, the act of eating is intertwined with socialization. Lunch is typically the time when students get to talk to their friends. As a result of the pandemic, students now cherish the opportunities they have to socialize. Lunch with friends has become increasingly important to students because they are making up for lost time when they had to isolate themselves from their peers.

Socializing is a life skill that is especially important when interviewing for a job, speaking publicly, working on group projects and meeting new people. A longer lunch can lead students to strengthen these skills that will be indispensable later on in life. 

Five or 10 extra minutes might not seem like much, but it would make a world of difference to students. Whether they are stuck on a long line, rushing to make up a test, participating in an extracurricular club or just in the midst of a great conversation with friends, a little bit more time at lunch would go a long way.

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