The Crazy Stressors of Eating in a School Cafeteria
You know that you don’t want to go, but you have to. The bell that just rang is signaling that your lunch period has begun, but there are plenty of problems. For starters, it’s only 10:30 in the morning and you simply aren't hungry. After all, you just finished breakfast three hours ago! As you trudge down the staircase, the smells from the school cafeteria rise to meet you. What are you going to choose to eat today to have a healthy eating pattern?
- A variety of vegetables from all the subgroups--dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and others.
- Fruits, especially whole fruits.
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains.
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.
- A variety of protein to include: seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds and soy products.
- Unsaturated oils found in food
In addition, diets should be low in salt, regulate fat and provide plenty of fluids.
So, what are you going to eat in the school cafeteria in compliance with those complex guidelines? The school cafeteria lunch? School cafeteria’s carefully select meals to meet the daily nutritional requirements that would give you 3,000 calories per day. But how long has that pizza for lunch been sitting out? Was it made this morning? Your poor stomach is already protesting. What about the a la carte salad bar? It’s a healthier option, but the limp lettuces and oil-based dressings don’t exactly offer the best nutrients. What about bringing your own lunch?
Most students do not even have enough time to eat their lunch by the time they have picked what they wanted to eat. Their dining style will depend on the amount of time they have, their level of stress from the day, their dining company, and the available dining options.
Doctor Oz, a medical expert with a practice in New York and a notable television presence, has described eight different types of eaters. Many students in schools today struggle with being one of these types of eaters. All have many pros and cons and can affect their ability to focus in class. Which one are you?
- The Chaotic Eater: When was the last time you ate? Were you heading to school and grabbed something before heading out? You forgot to pack your lunch? You’ll just eat whatever and wherever.
- The Nibbler: Snacks are your forte. You would rather eat different types of snacks throughout the day without really ever pausing to finish a complete meal. Finding healthy snacks in the school cafeteria is going to be challenging, to say the least.
- The Passionate Eater: Remember the commercial for Life cereal with the little boy, Mikey? The most quoted line was “Give it to Mikey. Mikey will eat anything.” Mikey is a passionate eater. He will try almost any food. There is no dish too spicy, no texture too strange for Mikey.
- The Meat and Potato Eater: You need to have your meat or you are just not satisfied. If necessary, you will throw in a vegetable or fruit, but what you really want is large portions of proteins and carbohydrates.
- Finish Your Plate: You normally finish your plate at every meal. You are not a picky eater and will eat whatever is put in front of you. It's about quantity, not quality for you.
- Emotional Eater: Are you having a bad day? A chocolate bar for lunch will pick you up. How about an ice cream cone with 2 scoops? You normally go for what your body is lacking at the time, which can sometimes be a bad thing.
- The Dieter: Everyone has these days. There’s a big event coming and you need to fit into that dress or you have to be at a certain weight for your sport so you fit your diet to that standard. You constantly carry around a nutritional guide in their head.
- The Conscious Eater: This type is the healthiest. You eat what your body needs.You get all of the nutrients that are needed for healthy growth and development.
With all these types of eaters in every school, how is the school cafeteria supposed to cater to them all? How are the food choices supposed to suffice?
The stressors of school cafeteria choices are significant issues for plenty of traditional students. Plenty of eaters have preferences that are completely underserved by the choices in a school. Add that to the numerous emotional and health issues that can cause restrictions in diets, and what we're left with is a disastrous school lunch program at most schools.
Life is tough - why does something as simple as a mealtime have to be so difficult and complicated for our young ones?
One of the greatest benefits to online learning, such as what is offered at Enlightium Academy, is the absence of the pressures and stressors of programs like school lunch. Students shouldn’t worry about the social pressures inherent to a lunch period. They are now free to eat the nutritious offerings of home, without the bizarre restrictions imposed upon them in public school systems.
Enlightium is a fully accredited online private Christian school that allows students to work at their own pace with a flexible schedule. Our affordable tuition, individualized curriculum, and simple admissions process maintains the advantages of a home school education while also preparing students for college. Additionally, Enlightium offers record-keeping and has worked with families in all 50 states to meet state requirements. Feel free to call us at 866-488-4818 if you have any questions about transferring to Enlightium Academy.