It’s hard enough being a kid. As if high school isn’t already a pressure cooker, with the need to excel academically and be accepted socially, students in overcrowded schools face another unnatural influence in their lives—the spreading out of their lunch time from before 9 a.m. to nearly 3 p.m. every day.
Now, it’s not only the nutritional content of school food that’s a problem, it’s the timing too. Since the facilities in desired schools are so overpopulated, many schools stagger lunch periods to rotate students through. Unfortunately, this forces students into schedules where they have to eat lunch too early (close to breakfast time) or too late. This makes it hard for their bodies to conform to their natural hunger rhythms.
At this crucial time in students’ lives—when their bodies are changing fast, their minds are constantly tested by competitive exams and college preparation, and they’re figuring out how to survive within their complex social networks—foodservice is doing them a great disservice.
A recent New York Times article talked about the foodservice pressures at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, which was built to serve 2,400 students, but has nearly 4,600 because its reputation and high graduation rate (81% vs. 56% citywide) attracts applicants from outside its geographic enrollment zone.
It’s not the only one: “Last year, 41 high schools were more than 20% above capacity, up from 31 high schools two years earlier…nine of them, including Francis Lewis, were at least 50% overflowing,” the Times report said, citing the New York City Department of Education.
This is happening in more places than just New York City.
If you’re child is facing this problem in school, or if you know someone who has a child that does, you should recommend that they pack snacks such as protein bars and fruit to tie them through long periods during which they would not normally eat. Eating every 3 hours will keep a child’s blood stable, which will make it easier for them to focus in class. Protein keeps blood sugar levels stable for hours. Protein bars are easy to consume, even when walking to classrooms or at the locker. There are many protein bars to choose from, and Labrada makes some great tasting bars which kids love, and are nutritious for them. The all new Labrada Nutrition Hi-Protein Cookie Roll is a great choice. Just click here on the image below: