School Meals - Feeding Young Minds
The importance of food cannot be overstated. Schools are places where children go to be educated. But the ability to be educated can collapse if we are hungry and lack proper nutrition. Neither a child that is hungry, nor a child that is ill can be expected to learn. In an age where fast foods, large portion sizes and heavily processed foods to entice taste buds are everywhere, it has become increasingly important to educate children about nutrition.
What better place than a school environment to educate children on the same? When we understand that school meals are important, we can create school cafeterias and canteens that are as effective at educating, as our school classrooms. School meals can become one of the most powerful education we offer schools.
School meals can make up a considerable proportion of a child's dietary intake over a critical period of his/her life. This is a period when core dietary habits are shaped and may persist throughout adulthood. Therefore, investing in school meals will pay dividends in improved health and education outcomes. It is good not just for the community, but the nation as well. Healthy children grow up to be healthy citizens of the nation.
Having daily access to nutritious meals at school contributes to improved school performance while helping children to emerge into their full potential. Research shows that students who participate in the school meal programs consume more whole grains, milk, fruits, and vegetables during meal times and have better overall diet quality than nonparticipants. Eating breakfast at school is associated with better attendance rates, fewer missed school days, and better test scores.
In developed countries, school meal is a source of nutritious meals. In developing countries school meals help fight the negative impacts of food insecurities. These include mental health issues, diabetes, obesity, and impaired cognitive development in children. In lower-income groups, school meals also work as an incentive to send children to school and continue their education.
Providing good nutrition through school meals can positively impact a child’s learning through their physical development, cognitive development & behavior development. Students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired, are more attentive in class, and retain more information.
Eating healthy foods, sharing a meal together, and interaction between students and teachers at school mealtime help promote health, learning, and equality.