Proper nutrition is very important for young people since their bodies undergo rapid formation processes. The development of all organs depends on the food a person eats. One should receive high-quality calories to stay active in a classroom and at home, excel in learning, engage in sports, enjoy life, and have a good emotional state.
Understanding the importance of healthy meals, state bodies create special programs, establish standards which canteens should meet, prohibit learners to leave a school to buy products in quick-service restaurants. At the same time, some people believe that open campus lunches are better and everyone can decide what to eat on one’s own. Experts from Pro-Papers have analyzed the main advantages and disadvantages of regulated school menus.
Pros of regulated menus
In the country where fast food gains popularity and obesity is on the rise, it is very important to attract kids’ attention to healthy meals. Some students do not eat soups and salads because their parents have no time for cooking and packing lunches, prefer making a sandwich or heating a piece of pizza in a microwave oven. It is uneasy to change nutritional habits formed in childhood, that is why most people continue to eat unhealthy food throughout their lives. Schools can contribute to raising strong new generations which will face fewer diseases and always stay in shape.
As a professional staff works in school canteens, complex dishes are not a problem. Students, their moms and dads do not have to spend hours in the kitchen. It is just necessary to take ready meals and eat them. If food is tasty, young people are likely to cook something similar at home instead of buying donuts and hamburgers in malls.
Adhering to nutrition guidelines
Of course, open campus lunches teach young people to be responsible and self-sufficient. After all, they will choose food on their own in adulthood. But juniors having special menus prescribed by their doctors not always understand the consequences of unhealthy nutrition.
If facing freedom of choice, most of them prefer prohibited products usually not bought by parents. Children instructed to eat lean, nonfat meals do not miss the opportunity to buy fried meat. Diabetics consume sweets in enormous amounts. Such behavior leads to health problems and aggravating diseases.
A school administration should understand that juniors and teenagers are not adult people yet. It is worth protecting them from temptations and mistakes, especially if short minutes of pleasure in quick-service restaurants may lead to medical complications. Since parents cannot control open campus lunches, it is much easier for them to instruct a class teacher or a canteen staff on a menu complying with child’s nutritional guidelines.
State programs offer affordable and sometimes free meals. Kids can receive healthy food regardless of their parents’ social status. With governmental financing, schools do not have to spend their budgets on staff’s wages, maintaining a canteen in a proper state, buying furniture, equipment, making repairs and stockpiling supplies. In contrast, grocery stores and restaurants visited by learners outside a school inflate prices to cover expenses necessary for business operation.
Studying and eating in the same building is very comfortable since young people do not have to spend extra time to walk down the street and find the closest café. If there are many outlets nearby, children spend much time thinking about where to go.
Understanding that a bell is going to ring soon, they run to a school and eat standing up, which is unhealthy.
Food should be consumed slowly, without haste and worries, in a calm and cozy environment which canteen may provide.
Nutritionists claim that signs of fullness appear 20 minutes after eating, so longer lunchtime may prevent obesity. In addition, young people may discuss some interesting topics, which makes a student community more cohesive and promotes socialization.
Cons of regulated menus
Picky children refuse school food
It is difficult to force some kids to eat porridge or soup. They seek unhealthy alternatives or stay hungry. This usually happens if parents bring fast food home and young people get accustomed to it since the earliest age.
Lack of parental control
Some moms and dads are very concerned about their children’s nutrition, doubt state specialists’ competence and want to pack lunches self-handedly. For example, vegetarians and representatives of some religions do not eat meat. Most doctors claim that this product is useful for building bones and muscles, which is especially important for a growing organism. That is why meat is usually included in a school menu. Obligatory nutrition may result in conflicts and lawsuits.
Even though there are many dishes that may be cooked from healthy products, a school staff usually dwells on some limited set of options. When returning from summer holidays, meals in a canteen may awaken interest. But after a week, learners realize that they have tried everything from a menu, want to use a lunch not only to replenish an energy balance but also to experience bright emotions. Some kids reward themselves for good marks with tasty food. But if a person is sick of eating the same dishes for months, a meal is unlikely to bring any joy.
Also, staying in the same building for many hours may be boring. An open campus lunch allows a person to walk several minutes, distract from learning problems and refresh one’s mind.