Around the world, schools serve lunches to students. The degree to which these meals are healthy varies widely from country to country. If you are a student in France, chances are you eat a very healthy school lunch. In countries like Brazil more than 43 million children are fed meals with mostly fresh food (much of it organic) that is prepared from scratch and menus are supervised by nutritionists from local and state governments. Processed foods are limited as well foods with high salt and/or sugar content. In the US, however, MANY schools continue to serve unhealthy processed lunches with little to no organic food being served to students. Some schools in places like California are now feeding kids fresh organic lunches. Here are 6 Reasons why other schools should start doing the same:
1) Better Memory and Concentration
Studies show that children who are hungry and undernourished have trouble focusing and remembering what they learn. A good nutritious meal promotes better learning which is vital to setting up kids for success in life.
2) Better Overall Health
A study conducted in 2008 by the Journal of School Health found that better school lunches have the potential to improve a child’s diet, academic performance and in the long term their overall health. A healthy diet isn’t just good for physical health either. Good nutrition and FEELING healthy are good for mental health too.
3) Better Behaved Kids
Several studies as far back as the 1980’s on the diets of juvenile delinquents in correctional facilities found that removing chemical additives and processed foods reduced problem behaviors DRAMATICALLY. In one study problem behaviors fell by 47% and in another study hyperactivity went down by 65%. If you were a parents you probably wouldn’t mind that chance in your home as well!
4) Better Academic Performance
A number of studies have shown a strong coloration with organic meals being served to students at school and much better outcomes on standardized tests as well as regular exams.
5) Reducing Obesity
From 1970 to 2000 the obesity rates in children tripled. A 2018 study in Japan published by The Journal of Public Health found that serving good nutritional, organic food at school lunches may be effective at reducing childhood obesity (Japan already has a low rate of childhood obesity as it is).
6) Better Habits for the Future
Research has clearly shown that eating patterns developed in early childhood typically continue on long into adulthood. Researchers found that if children are to select healthier foods as a matter of preference, they need to have positive, repeated experiences with those kinds of foods early in in life.
Overall it would seem to be ‘a no-brainer’ for schools to serve fresh, organic foods for lunch. Organic lunches in schools may not be at the top of the priority list but you could make a good argument that they should be. Good nutritious habits developed in childhood can do WONDERS for a child’s life and help set them up for success in the adult world!