In the scheme of things, this won’t matter to me in 7 months once I’ve graduated and moved on to college, but I feel like I have some solid points regarding school lunches across the state and our country. I feel that because I’m a teenager I can relate very easily to this situation and give some decent input. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here, because I’m all about being healthy, but I’d like to challenge some of these regulations.
If you take a moment to imagine you’re inside a child or teenagers mind, this may be easier to understand, so bare with me.
With some exceptions, most children and teenagers spend around 7 hours of their day at school 5 days a week. If that student eats only lunch at school, (which is usually the case) that means their school is only accountable for 5 meals a week. If that student or child eats a regular 3 meals a day, that means they have a total of 21 meals a week not including snacks. With this being said, we all realize that 5 meals out of 21 meals doesn’t really make much of a difference, and I can second that.
Although this is hardly even a dent in these kids’ overall food intake, I do think its necessary to regulate what elementary school children eat for their lunch in school. Eating habits are established in the adolescent years and along with regulating school lunches, parents of these youngsters need to realize there are easy and inexpensive ways to the healthily feed their children.
As for middle schoolers, I think parents can agree with me when I say THEY EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT, and this has some truth to it. From 6th grade through 8th grade are some of the most important physical changes these kids will run into, and eating healthy is a large part of it. Although this is crucial for growth, it is also crucial for responsibility. They should be given more choices than those of the elementary students, because in reality high school is all about choices. What may not affect you now, could potentially affect you later, and this is a concept they all need to grasp sooner than they do.
And lastly, are the high school students. I don’t think we need to be “let loose” by any means, but we need to prepare ourselves for when we move on to college or the future and realize that the only person to hold you back from deciding what to eat is yourself. Many students find that when they go off to college, they gain a significant amount of weight. This is because they aren’t used to making these decisions on their own. As your body matures, it becomes much more difficult to lose this weight, and without motivation, the weight will stay. Trying to force high schoolers to eat healthy is really only coddling them.
When they are forced to buy food they didn’t originally want, they buy more food, except more UNHEALTHY food. When they feel as if they didn’t get enough to eat, they will stop by a vending machine, or maybe even at a fast food restaurant on their way home. They may even go straight home and eat a much larger “after school snack” than they normally would.
As young adults we will automatically be faced with tougher decisions the older we get. With eating healthy seeming like one of the easier decisions, we often overlook what we put into our bodies, but if we do not form good habits from the beginning we will simply choose the easier option, which is usually the unhealthy foods. But if we are faced with this decision after being brought up on a healthier diet, more often than not, we choose what is better for us.
What do you choose?