Lunch can be a difficult period for students to navigate. From teacher consultations to pressing assignments, students can find themselves with a time constraint during lunch. Pressed for time, it has not been an uncommon scenario for students to skip out on this vital meal during the day and continue on to afternoon classes without proper nourishment. Missing this midday meal has many more disadvantages than students are often aware, and it is time to break this habit of disregarding lunch. If you’re worried about how little time you can spare for lunch, consider these impactful benefits of pausing and some quick meal ideas to keep you on track for the remainder of the day.
"Lunch is a key component of our diets[,] making up one-third or more of our daily food intake, and it's the meal powering us through the majority of our workday," says ETNT medical board expert, Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS. Skipping lunch has a major influence on our ability to be productive. Being able to focus during classes and homework in the afternoon is very important, especially for students with busy schedules and after-school extracurriculars. Additionally, this ability is heavily reliant on the fuel people gain from a good, balanced meal midway through the day. Missing lunch for even one day can significantly impact concentration in a negative way, as reported by Dr. Neha Suryawanshi, a dietitian and nutritionist at Practo. Even a short break to pause work and eat can help keep you energized for the rest of the day, and it is a much better alternative to completely missing lunch regardless of the amount of time you can spare.
One specific cause of the productivity depletion that comes with skipping lunch is insufficient glucose levels. Glucose levels begin to drop after just over a few hours without food. According to Haley Robinson, a Piedmont clinical dietitian, glucose is what powers our brains, and without sufficient amounts of this chemical throughout the day, your brain will not be able to function properly. Skipping out on this midday source of glucose will prevent you from working to your full potential, which is counterproductive to the original intention of missing lunch to work. If you notice throughout the day that you can’t seem to stay focused and your body is feeling sluggish, it’s time to pause for some lunch.
Lunch is important not only from a health perspective, but also a social one. According to the team at Action for Healthy Kids, a program dedicated to providing proper nutrition to school children, a break from work to socialize is very beneficial for students to reset their minds and bodies and prepare mentally for the afternoon. Taking this vital break can relieve stress and provide a time to socialize, raising students’ spirits and improving motivation, as shown in research collected by the King County Green Schools Program.
Still not convinced you have time for lunch? Here are some quick yet nutritional cafe options here in our high school to keep you going through your day. When asked about best options for kids in a rush, Ms. Julia Simonsen, our Food Service Director from Sage, stated that, “The cafe is definitely a quicker option for students in a hurry than the cafeteria.” She adds, “Once the cafe is back up and running, we are planning to have more grab-and-go options available for students.” Here are some of the items that will likely make an appearance in the cafe's selections in the coming weeks, as provided by Ms. Simonsen.
1. Paninis and sandwiches
2. Sushi burritos
4. Extra supplies of the daily hot lunch items.
Skipping lunch can have a bigger impact on your health and academic performance than many students realize. Even when pressed for time, a quick meal will help restore motivation and focus for the remainder of the afternoon. So, take that break. Regardless of how much time you have to spare, the benefits will be both mentally and physically rewarding.