The Crunch for Lunch

The Crunch for Lunch

Savana Freyman, Student Life Editor

Thirty-six minutes bell to bell is all of the time that students are allowed to eat lunch in Wellington High school`s school day. Thirty-six minutes seems like an ample amount of time for someone to enjoy their lunch and socialize, however take away the five minutes it takes to get to and from the cafeteria. This leaves 26 minutes for students to have lunch. Now subtract the 10 to 15 minutes students stand in the lunch line to get their food from the cafeteria. This leaves students with an average of 16-11 total minutes to eat lunch!

Nationwide, 32 million students eat school lunch every day, and more than 11 million eat the breakfast served there. Most schools in the U.S. are switching to a healthier lunch plan that offers healthy items like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, salad bars or entree salads, and fat-free and 1% milk.

Although these foods are more nutritious, which is great, the downside is that they can take longer to eat. Chewing an apple takes a lot longer to eat than items such as prepackaged chips. To avoid the lack of time to eat lunch, many students choose to bring a healthy bagged lunch from home and eat in the courtyard, as opposed to waiting in line in the cafeteria.

“I think that we don’t get enough time to eat, by the time we get to the cafeteria get in line and sit down we are almost out of time,” Alexis Aiken, Senior, said.

The school lunch “hour” in America really is a thing of the past. At many public schools today, students rarely get more than 15 minutes to eat. Some get even less time. Parents and administrators are concerned that a lack of time to eat is unhealthful, especially given that about one-third of American kids are overweight or obese.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students get at least 20 minutes for lunch. However that means 20 minutes to actually sit down and eat — excluding time waiting in line or walking from class to the cafeteria.

“We definitely don’t get 20 minutes to sit down and eat every day. We get more like 10 minutes to actually eat when you consider the time we take to socialize,” Gabrielle Cohen, junior, said.

Overall, students need more time in their day to eat lunch and socialize than the 11- 16 minutes that are spared in the seven hour and 20 minute long school day.