When we think about the experience kids have at public schools, things like what they learn in classes and what resources are available to enrich their learning may come to mind first. But, we cant forget about the food that keeps those young minds revving for a super productive school day.
Stick around to uncover why top-notch lunches should be the norm and how you, the parental superhero, can join the foodie revolution for schools in your neck of the woods. Time to dish out some knowledge!
Challenges of Current School Lunches
So what's wrong with food in schools today? It's important to understand that school lunches aren't a one-size-fits-all deal. It's a wild food adventures school cafeterias are trying their hardest, but with limited resources it’s kind of tough to meet all the expectations.
In those schools that struggle with their programs, there are two common problems. The first being, presentation. School lunches are often just not appetizing. Lunchroom personnel don't have time to perfectly plate everything that they serve, and the result? A tray that’s more “meh” than marvelous. The end result is that picky kids may turn their noses up at whatever's being served and choose to go hungry instead of eating.
The second major problem with school lunches is a lack of variety and the classic case of menu monotony. If you look at your school's weekly lunch menu, you’re likely to experience some déjà vu. Sure, common foods like pizza, burgers, or chicken nuggets have their fan club, but even they cry for a change. As a result, they may pick at their food or skip eating entirely.
The Importance of an Appetizing Lunch
You simply can't underestimate the importance of serving kids an appetizing, satisfying lunch during the day. Here are some of the reasons why schools should serve better lunches:
- Concentration: When kids get enough to eat at lunchtime, they're less likely to get distracted from rumbling bellies and may be better able to focus on their schoolwork.
- Behaviors: For many kids, simply sitting still for class takes effort. When little ones have enough to eat, they may be in a better position to be on their best behavior.
- Mood: Eating a satisfying meal can leave kids feeling happy, rather than hungry, making the classroom a friendlier place for everyone.
- Social interactions: Better behavior and happier moods can all contribute to more positive interactions between classmates as well as between students and teachers.
- Waste: When kids toss out their lunches instead of eating, the food goes to waste, and so does the money that the school district spent to purchase the ingredients and run the cafeteria. It also wastes the lunch money that you give your child to pay for cafeteria meals.
How Do School Lunches Affect Students Negatively?
When kids skip lunch because it is not appetizing or they're bored with the usual fare, there can be some negative effects, such as:
- Irritability: You probably know yourself that being hungry can put you in a bad mood. Irritability in kids can lead to misbehavior and fights with friends.
- Stress: When they're feeling hungry, kids may not be able to cope with everyday stresses that come from things like having to make presentations or take tests.
- Reduced well-being: Choosing not to eat can affect a child's overall emotional well-being, making the school day less enjoyable.
- Impaired problem-solving abilities: Because kids may lose focus easier and have less energy, they may struggle with problem-solving and creative thinking, which could negatively impact their grades.
What You Can Do About School Food Quality
Simply put, poor school food quality can cause a lot of problems for students. As a parent, there are some things that you can do to help ensure that your child has access to food that they want to eat, such as:
- Making your voice heard: Don’t be shy! Talk to the administration and give them a friendly nudge about the school lunches being served. Respectfully express your concerns and come prepared with some potential solutions.
- Getting involved: If you're not already, get involved with the parent teacher organization or association, and talk to other parents about school lunches.
- Volunteering: If you've got room in your schedule, you could organize a fundraiser to improve school lunches, launch an awareness campaign or even volunteer to help in the cafeteria yourself.
- Offering an alternative: Although it may take time for your school to change its lunch offerings, you can start to ensure your kiddo is eating their lunch by packing one for them.
Make Lunch Simple and Satisfying with Yumble
Planning and packing a school lunch doesn’t mean you have to break a sweat. Packing your child's lunch doesn't have to be difficult or add stress to your day. With Yumble, it's easy to send your little one to school with a lunch that they'll look forward to eating and to keep school lunches fresh and exciting.
Your kiddo gets to call the shots and create their very own custom lunch bags, loaded with their own entree, fruit, veggie inspired side and snack from a range of tasty options. Giving them a say in what they eat takes the pressure off you and can encourage them to finish every bite of their lunch.