School lunches are undergoing many changes. School officials are beginning to take a look at what our children need to remain healthy. Poor food choices negatively affect daily moods and behavior. It may be difficult, however, to offer healthy foods with school lunches while other students are munching on chips. All children are not going to be participating in this project. This brings up many questions about the rights of parents. When health is an issue, schools want to see a change. In reality, as full ban may be impossible, as packed lunches cannot be monitored the same way as school provided lunches.
The students eating at school on a daily basis are sure to benefit from a junk food ban. Vending machines can also be removed from schools, or healthy items can be added. Junior high and elementary schools are not usually tolerant of things like sodas. The younger kids have more supervision at lunch and may have more rules. Most parents are pretty agreeable when it comes to avoiding allergens and extremely sugary items. Complaints about school lunches are likely to be minor, as most parents like to have someone take over meal planning.
School lunches are often used out of convenience. The daily packing of lunches can be a lot of work, especially when parents have multiple children. Unfortunately, parents are not very involved when it comes to what is served by the school. With everything else working parents have to deal with, lunch often becomes an afterthought. A ban on junk food is a positive step. It can help kids stay healthy during school hours, and take some of the burden off of parents.
There are more obese children than ever before. Some countries do not have these issues, however, the United States has an excess of overweight children. Fast food is quickly becoming available across the globe. Processed foods have large amounts of fats and sugars. These convenience foods increase the calorie intake, while offering limited nutrition. Fast foods are often a part of family dinners. After a long day of work, school, and sports parents often get home too late to cook.
Many kids also arrive home to an empty house. With both parents away at work, there is little supervision of snacking. Parents often buy chips, cookies, and crackers that are prepackaged for easy access. These foods have little food value, and are high in calories. Kids may also be sitting around on video games for several hours after school. Obesity
Is caused by a combination of poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles.
Kids are naturally more active than adults. They like to run and play. Even with higher energy levels and faster metabolisms, kids are still gaining extra weight. When schools provide healthy lunches, kids are able to receive a proper diet during the main part of their day. Even if the home diet is not adequate, proper meals at school can help fight obesity.
Kids need feel their best if they are going to learn properly. A poor diet can contribute to learning complications. A diet high in sugar or fat may leave students lethargic or out of focus. Too many sweets may raise energy for a short period of time, and then cause a sugar crash. Kids my feel drowsy during class, and have a hard time retaining information. Severe nutritional deficiencies may lead to difficulty learning, as well. When you do not feel your best, it is hard to do well in school. Students that are also receiving inadequate nutrition at home may be at risk for things like diabetes and anemia. Anemia causes issues with the red blood cells, and is caused by a lack of iron. The telltale signs of this disease, are lethargy and feeling chilled.
Diabetes causes trouble with insulin and be life threatening if not treated immediately. The school should not be adding foods that contribute to these, or any other diseases. There are many foods that contribute to healthy brain function. Fish is often called brain food. A meal high in protein can also keep kids in better condition. Iron deficiency can also cause issues with the proper transmission of dopamine. This has a negative impact on cognitive function. Concentration is affected when vitamins E and B are left out of the diet. Thiamine, zinc, and iodine also cause issues with concentration.
Certain things needed to be added to the diet on a daily basis to help kids perform their best. Carbohydrates and amino acids are necessary for proper reasoning and perception skills. Overall intelligence has been known to improve when nutrition is improved.
Children naturally have a ton of energy. Recess is often worked into the school day for younger kids. This helps them to get their energy out before having to sit still in a classroom. A child that is hyperactive throughout the day, even after exercise, may have some issues with their diet. Many kids bring sugary snacks to school in their lunchboxes. Some parents even allow sodas to be consumed during the school day. Kids are smaller and may be more sensitive to the effects of sugar. Large amounts of sugar can make it difficult for a child to sit still and concentrate.
Many children are medicated for disorders that involve hyperactivity. It is astounding to see how many pills that school nurses hand out on a daily basis. It is easier to give a child a pill than to adjust their diet. This is a sad reality of today’s culture. It may be unrealistic to have children sitting still for the majority of the day, as well. Changes need to be made in classrooms to allow for more activities, as well. A poor diet, however, can make a child present with symptoms of hyperactivity. Before medicating any child, a full nutritional assessment should be done.
Healthy foods provided by the school can help to regulate the behavior of kids in the classroom. Teachers are sure to see a difference when kids have a diet without junk food. The entire student body benefits when proper nutrition is given. It only takes one hyperactive child to disrupt an entire classroom. The school should do their part to prevent these issues.
When it comes to remaining healthy, junk food and processed foods are a big problem. When you provide plant based foods and proteins, it is much easier to determine what is in the food. Processed foods contain a lot of additives. Some of these are chemical preservatives, and cancer causing dyes. Allergies, especially nut allergies, have been on the rise in recent years. Scientists are unclear why this increase in allergic reactions has taken place. Schools often issue allergy questionnaires to parents when kids are planning to eat meals at school.
It is often difficult to discern what is safe for kids with allergies, due to the many ingredients in junk food. A packaged cookie or chip may contain traces of nuts. This can easily be overlooked since the product is not a nut or other allergen. Junk foods are processed in factories with many different types of food. These foods all touch the same equipment. Unless the snack comes from a nut free factory, there is a risk of cross-contamination. This risk is eliminated when fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables, are served.
Children are also developing allergies to the additives in junk foods. Cereals are a big issue, as they often contain massive amounts of color additives. The red dyes are causing the biggest problems. Reactions can range from mild to severe. Extreme behavioral changes can be one of the symptoms of a red dye sensitivity. The additives are so numerous in processed foods, it can be difficult to pinpoint what is causing allergies and behavior issues.
6Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is another disease that is on the rise. Diabetes results when the body produces too much insulin. This complication can come on suddenly and be life threatening. Students with blood sugar issues must be checked throughout the day. They must also adhere to strict dietary standards. The amount of sugar in our foods far exceeds the amount that is safe for most adults. When kids are subjected to these foods, the effects can be devastating.
Diabetes can be caused by a genetic issue, as well as from dietary inadequacies. No matter what the initial cause, an improvement in diet can limit symptoms. Sweets are not a regular part of the diet when diabetes is present. Junk food at school can be an unnecessary temptation for kids with diabetes. It can also contribute to the development of the disease.
Diabetes is also a health risk that goes along with obesity. Kids are not able to function properly when their diet is full of junk food. Their lives can be put in danger when diabetes is present. Instead of playing and having fun, they have to be on constant alert for blood sugar changes. A good breakfast and lunch at school can help lower the risk of this disease.
5Long-term Health Issues
Health problems that begin in youth often follow children throughout their lifetime. When poor food choices are a regular part of childhood, health issues can develop that are not easy to overcome. Lack of nutrition that results in anemia can impact growing bones, for example. Skeletal remains from ancient cultures show marks on the skulls of children. These are present due to iron deficiency. In its most severe form, it can be fatal. If poor nutrition continues, anemia may be something that is still an issue as an adult.
Obesity and diabetes are also issues that are not unique to childhood. When a child starts out overweight, they are unlikely to remedy the problem before they are fully grown. A poor diet is often a family problem. A child has little say over what type of groceries are brought home. They may not know any better, or may be unable to initiate change. Schools should not contribute to these problems. The school breakfast or lunch may be the only exposure to healthy eating that a child has.
Long-term health issues often begin during childhood. Children’s bodies and brains are developing at an alarming rate. Proper growth and development is highly dependent on nutrients. These nutrients are only available from healthy foods. Junk food may sustain life, but at a price. When improper development occurs, this cannot be reversed. Severe malnutrition can even result in stunted growth. Children should not have to endure a lifetime of health problems because of junk food. Schools are able to make a difference.
Cost is always an issue when school meals are planned. Many school districts are on a strict budget. Junk food may be chosen because of a lesser price. This is not an excuse for putting the health of kids at risk. There are many cost efficient ways to feed children a healthy diet. The cost of healthy foods can be similar, or even less. This mistake is often made by individual shoppers, as well. Fresh produce is often less expensive than processed food. It simply takes a little more effort to find the deals.
Processed food can cost more due to the packaging. When fruits and vegetables are purchased free of manufactured packaging, they usually cost less. Meal planning specialists that work for schools also need to pay attention to the season. Fresh foods cost more when you buy them out of season. The cost can be lessened when in-season fruits and vegetables are purchased. The menu must be adjusted according to what is available at the time. This can save a large amount of money.
Indirect costs often result from a poor meal plan at schools. Kids do not behave well when their diet consists of mainly junk food. It can also affect the health of students. When students have behavior problems, extra resources must be used. Ongoing issues cause teachers to stay late for things like detention and tutoring. This can affect the school budget, as teachers must be paid for their time. It is more cost efficient to purchase healthy foods.
3Starts Bad Habits
Kids are eager to learn. This is because their brains are set up to pick up a large amount of information every day. The developing brains of children form connections that affect how they perceive things in their adult lives. This is why many specialists are concerned about the environment of children. People and experiences play a big part in the healthy development of children’s minds. Young minds are also geared towards forming habits.
Special attention is paid to educating children about the dangers of drugs. Their brains are set up to become addicts much faster than adults. Learning involves repetition and the formation of habits. This is not limited to academic material. The brain can form a quick connection to dangerous substances. Eating is one of life’s many habits. Kids that are exposed to mainly junk food, tend to carry those habits with them throughout their lives.
When these habits are formed early on, it can be extremely difficult for adults to make a change. Bad nutrition habits contribute to many diseases. Kids that are not taught to eat well can easily become unhealthy adults. A ban on junk food in schools, combined with nutrition education, can set kids up for a lifetime of healthy eating.
2Ensures A Few Good Meals
A child’s home life cannot be known by everyone they come in contact with. Teachers must deal with kids that come from many different home environments. Some kids have a parent that stays home, while others have two working parents. Different economic situations also have an effect on how kids behave at school. Proper nutrition is not guaranteed from all families. Kids may show up at school after breakfast, and go home to a dinner consisting of processed foods. Schools should not add to these issues.
A healthy breakfast and lunch at school guarantees that children are offered a few good meals each week. This may be the only healthy food that some children ever see. Kids that are on a free lunch program may not even have enough food at home. A ban on junk food can be a positive step towards helping kids in need. When children depend on school meals for their main food source, it is pertinent that the nutrition is adequate.
Some schools have more kids at financial risk than others. These schools should take nutrition very seriously. Kids may show up at school hungry when they lack proper resources at home. This can affect learning and social development. When their day can start out with a good meal, life can be a little easier. Even schools with financially stable students can be a good influence on nutritional decisions.
It is irresponsible to teach children poor eating habits. Schools are a place of education. They should not be confusing children by teaching them health, and then providing poor food choices. Most elementary school children are taught basic health concepts and begin to learn how the body works. It can cause confusion when students learn one thing in the classroom and then see a different thing in the cafeteria. Consistency is key when teaching children how to take care of themselves.
Schools also have a responsibility to keep children safe and healthy while they are on campus. It goes against policy to offer them junk food. Parents trust that schools have their kid’s best interest in mind. This is not shown when school meals are inadequate. Junk food meals show a low interest in the children that attend public schools. Schools need to take responsibility for the children they claim to care about. This responsibility goes far past the academic realm. Physical care and safety is also important.
Food choices are something that should be addressed from a very young age. When kids are provided good meals, they learn how to eat right. This helps them make good choices as they age.
Schools are in a position to contribute to a healthier community. They are able to teach children how to take care of themselves from an early age. Proper school meals are an important step when it comes to caring for kids. Junk food in schools can cause a myriad of issues. Health issues that start during childhood are likely to last a lifetime. Obesity becomes a way of life, in many cases. Kids have little choice over what they eat. Food is provided by parents and the school. Kids may not even realize that their diet is unhealthy until they are much older.
Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the kids in attendance. This includes monitoring what they eat. Vending machines and sugary foods are giving kids the wrong idea about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes, hyperactivity, and poor concentration are all things that happen when nutrition is poor. Vitamin deficiencies can cause severe illness and concentration issues. The school can make a difference by making a healthy meal plan.
Some kids do not receive proper meals at home. Schools in low-income areas should be especially diligent about the meals they serve. Kids coming to school in the morning may be hungry from not having enough food at home. They need to start the day with a sound meal. This should not include sugary cereals and sweet rolls. Fruit or vegetables should be available at all meals served in the school cafeteria. Kids are dependent on adults for their health care. When schools take on care of these kids for seven to eight hours a day, they are also in charge of their health. School lunches are not simply a convenience for parents. Meals at school fuel kids throughout the entire day. They deserve foods that offer a positive result.