Ways Students Benefit From Efficient School Lunches

Do you remember your lunch periods from your K-12 days? Many fondly remember lunch as their favorite subject. It was a time to destress, socialize, and refresh themselves for a focused day of learning. Now, as seat time has gotten shorter over the years, they will probably be remembered as a pressurized 15-minute-or-less blur. This doesn’t have to be the case. PrimeroEdge knows it may not be possible to stretch lunch segments and readjust schedules, but we also know our ExpressPoint module can help schools modernize their lunch process to give back what is most precious to communities – more time for enjoyment and nutrients for students. When you read through the benefits that come from having more efficient lunches, it’s worth considering.


    According to a 2019 study by the WWF’s Food Waste Warrior conservation curriculum, schools nationwide waste about 530,000 tons of food per year, which translates to 1.7 billion dollars (FoodWasteWarriors, 2019)! There are a lot of variables concerning why certain foods get tossed, like how some items take longer to eat than others, how different students eat at different paces, or how some foods just aren’t enticing enough to your students. ExpressPoint’s menu insights report can analyze what students love to eat and tend to reject, so you know you’re only buying what works for your district. It means wasting less food, money, and time, which let’s be honest, we ALL could use more of! 


    It’s unsurprising that when students have more time they eat more. What people may not realize is that they also eat better! Those precious extra minutes don’t just mean getting a second helping of fan favorites like tater tots of square pizzas (of which some of us, like myself, may remember being guilty of). Even if fruits and vegetables aren’t students’ first choice, studies have shown they eat significantly more nutrients when they get the proper chance (ScienceDaily, 2021). Making students feel like lunch can be a satisfying experience can also lead to students participating in lunch programs instead of bringing their own. The CDC reported that some students don’t participate because they don’t have enough time to eat (CDC, 2019). If school lunch lines are maximized, the sooner students can get seated and ready to take on the rest of the day!


    Lunch may not be a core class, but it does help with academics. Take it from Juliana Cohen, a public health and nutrition professor at Merrimack College and Harvard University’s school of public health (if her title alone doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will). She says healthy dietary habits can “improve executive functioning—working memory, impulse control, everything we think of when we think of making a student successful” (Prothero, 2019). This is where serving flexibility proves essential. Planning breakfast in the classroom? Considering vending machines for post-lunch snacks? Done – ExpressPoint’s flexibility can help schools offer food outside of scheduled cafeteria times. The completely mobile app records meals and grab-and-go items instantly! Like you, we’re not just about nutrition, we’re about options. 


    What people eat and how they view their diet is often impacted by their childhood habits and offerings. The meals students receive every day can easily become their standard and expectation of what healthy items and servings are. That may be especially true for students whose only meals come from school. Therefore, it’s important to consider what it indicates to students when lunch breaks are not prioritized. There’s an underlying message associated with the rush of lunch; they’re internally learning that eating is an inconvenience, a mere interference to productivity. It’s an unfortunate byproduct, but an avoidable one if we work together to improve the speed and flexibility of meal transactions. If we want future generations to prioritize their physical, emotional, and mental health – all of which food plays a huge part of – it’s time to consider implementing positive systems surrounding food now. 

Maybe you were already privy to all of these benefits and why “longer” lunches matter. Maybe all you want to know now is how you can get all of that done. Luckily, PrimeroEdge has thought it through because we know what the impact of school nutrition means to you. Click here to read about ExpressPoint, our newest POS solution meant to streamline lunches in an intuitive yet innovative way.