Illustration by Tom Garrett; Debate photos courtesy of families; (all other images) 

Should Lunchtime Be Longer?

For some students, lunchtime can feel like a race. They have to wait in line in the cafeteria, find a seat, and finish eating before the bell rings. But many students in Maine may soon have more time to enjoy their meal. A proposed law in that state would require schools to give at least 30 minutes for lunch. Other states, including South Carolina and Rhode Island, are considering similar laws. 

“We hear from students that it makes them feel very stressed when they feel rushed to finish their food,” says Anna Korsen. She works at an organization called Full Plates Full Potential. “They might not be getting the right nutrition if they can’t finish all their food.” 

Studies have found that students who have shorter lunch periods eat fewer fruits and veggies.

But classes could get cut short to make room for longer lunch periods. Some people argue that students can’t afford to lose valuable learning time.

Here’s what two of our readers think.

We get 30 minutes for lunch at our school. But after walking to the cafeteria and standing in line to get food, I usually have only 15 minutes to actually eat! According to nutrition experts, that’s not enough time for kids to properly eat and digest a meal. I often end up throwing away some of my lunch because I run out of time.

Lunch period also isn’t long enough for kids to socialize with friends. It would be nice to have more time to relax and not worry about schoolwork.

At my school, we have a 20-minute lunch period. That gives kids plenty of time to eat, especially when cafeteria lines are short or they bring their lunch from home, like I do. I even have time to talk to friends at the lunch table. 

Schools might have to cut other classes short to make lunch periods longer. And some teachers already have trouble fitting in all of their lessons during our limited classroom time. Longer lunch periods just don’t make sense!

What does your class think?

Should lunchtime be longer?

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