How important is healthy eating in schools?

In todays world we are all aware of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with getting the right balance between a healthy diet and regular exercise all of which is advertised to us through the media. However, to what extent are schools pushing this message across to their pupils? And are these important issues being relayed to students in the correct way?

 

There is great emphasis placed on healthy eating and how to choose healthier options and meal ideas when you visit the supermarket. Yet society is still littered with take away and fast food restaurants that are great convenience foods as well as tasty and tempting options many of us choose. This is fine, as everyone wants a take away every now and then, but scarily many schools serve up meals that very much represent the foods from these restaurants, and children are able to choose between unhealthy meals on a daily basis when they are at school, which suggests to them that that is what a normal meal should be.

 

This is not the case everywhere, there are school programmes where fruit and salad is available for students to pick from, and vegetables appear in many of the meals prepared by the school canteen, with a limit on the cakes and sugary snacks available to buy. There are mixed views on this as some say students should be able to eat what they like and enjoy regardless of the health aspect. Yet in reality school is an environment where children learn and so surely it’s a place where their food choices can be impacted on? If schools serve up chips and chocolate cakes as options everyday in the canteen its likely that they will see this as an option that’s fine to eat everyday and so will do in everyday life.

 

Nutrition is actually key to a student’s development, their ability to learn as well as their behaviour. Studies have shown that students and people that eat a healthy balanced diet feel happier and are more motivated to learn, and behave much better than students that don’t eat a healthy balanced diet.

 

What is obvious is that we, as well as young students are constantly tempted by comfort convenience foods that are all around us (and generally aren’t the healthiest option). But if all schools implemented healthy balanced meals in their canteens and limited the number of sugary and high fat options so that students couldn’t buy them everyday of the week, it would improve the health and therefore the standard of education they receive. Not only this but it will also help to implement good habits which will then follow on in the future when they begin to make their own food choices and make their own meals.

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