I just saw this article and I had to blog about it because it hits home for me. My daughter was talking about this very subject after I asked her why she's leaving food in her lunch bag. She said that she didn't get enough time to eat and only gets a few minutes of recess. Talk about insanity?
In this time of health consciousness and wanting our children to eat healthily, giving our kids time to eat their lunches is important. A 15 minute lunch is not sufficient for children to get their lunch, eat it, and actually speak to their friends for more than a few seconds. This is the time for children to cool out, rest and rejuvenate their minds so they can work productively for the next few hours. Time to relax is pivotal to creativity and concentration. How do we expect to help our children be ready to achieve anything if we do not allow them to be human beings?! This sixth grader puts the argument extremely well. I encourage you to go to the link and read the whole article. Out of the mouths of babes y'all…out of the mouths of babes.
In the Minneapolis public schools, we are supposed to have 15 minutes to eat, which would be bad enough. But realistically we get only 10 to 11 minutes (we have been timing it).
Having to rush to eat is part of the reason for the obesity epidemic, eating disorders, indigestion and kids not doing well in school. There is research that proves all of these points. Kids just need more time to eat at school.
Rushing to eat high-calorie meals at school, or at home, is the cause for the gastroesophageal reflux. This is often called heartburn. Heartburn feels bad -- the symptoms are burning in the chest, overall chest pain, burning in the throat, difficulty swallowing, food sticking in middle of the chest or throat, sore throat and cough.
School-age children especially need nutrition, but we are the ones who don't get a choice about how long we get to eat. We are growing and have to get energy. In middle school especially, our bodies need energy, because middle-school kids are going through puberty. It is essential that we get enough time.
Younger kids, meanwhile, tend to eat much more slowly. That means they eat less in the time allotted and behave poorly for the rest of the day.