A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Lunch time isn’t enough time

Students at Littleton High School get 35 minutes for lunch and it is a little outrageous. What is crazy about the situation is a multitude of things, like how students are supposed to eat during what ends up being such little time, or how students are expected to have only a thirty minute break after sitting for three hours. The most ignored fact of them all is shorter lunch periods are linked to a higher nutritional deficiency.

When the bell rings and it is time for lunch, some grab their own lunch they brought, others buy a lunch from the cafeteria or they go out to eat. No matter which way a student ends up getting their meal from, they have to walk to their locker, the lunch line or to their car to go somewhere and the amount of time all those things add up to is ridiculous. By the time the student actually can sit down with their meal, they are limited to maybe 10-15 minutes to eat.

The amount of time is even less if a student decides to drive somewhere to get food because driving anywhere is going to take some time, and LHS really isn’t close to any popular food places. Southglenn, where students frequently go, takes ten minutes to drive there and another ten to get back. Ultimately students don’t even have time to eat there food when they go out, so then they have to save it for after school or see if the teacher in their next class will let them eat their food.

As more studies have come out in recent years, it has become largely supported by research that sitting for a prolonged amount of time may be very bad for our health and even our life expectancy. Also, studies have shown that teenagers and adults can only retain their attention for no more than approximately twenty minutes. So when students are supposed to sit for three hours, then take a nutrition break and then return to academics for another three hours straight, that in itself causes problems.

Students are not getting enough time to relieve their brains and bodies from everything that goes on in the regular school day, and the remedy for this issue is a longer break for students to talk with others to socially stimulate their minds, and maybe somehow get some exercise. Anything other than a short nutrition break, especially on Wednesdays, would be better than the system in place now.

Last but not least, the most important part of having a longer lunch is the fact that students with thirty minutes to eat school lunches consume significantly less of their main course, drink, and fruits and vegetables than those who aren’t as rushed. Many people rely on their school lunches as a main source of nutrition throughout their day, and when they don’t get to eat their food it, has more than just the effect of the student being hungry.

Federal guidelines over recent years have made the cafeteria food quality more nutritious, but nothing has changed with how long student have to eat that food. When people have less time to eat what is on their plate they end up throwing away more food, and the food that is usually thrown away is the important stuff like the fruit and vegetables. The result of this is kids don’t eat enough to satisfy them at lunchtime and they are more likely to eat more junk food later in the day.

Another issue is that when the lunch period starts at 10:30, lunch becomes their first meal because they skip breakfast knowing they’re going to eat in several hours.

The solution to this problem is simply to give the students more time. Not two hours or anything extreme like that, but an extra ten or fifteen minutes isn’t unreasonable. It just means taking several minutes off each class period, which shouldn’t be a problem because a lot of time those few extra minutes are wasted. If our sister high school in the LPS School district can make this change, so can LHS.