Study: Kids will eat more fruits and veggies during longer lunches

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It turns out, there could be a trick to getting kids to eat more fruits and veggies at the lunch table.

If students have a longer lunchtime, it’s proven they’re more likely to eat those healthy things.

We’ve got three things to know.

This study was done at the University of Illinois.

They studied elementary and middle school students during summer camp.

They held typical school lunches but they’d change up the times.

Some students would have 10 minutes to eat. Others would have 20.

Researchers took pictures of each meal before a student took it to lunch.

Then, they recorded how much each student ate and had each student fill out a survey.

Thing two is what they discovered.

Students who had a longer lunch period ate more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers say that extra time meant kids just had more time to snack on those healthy foods.

But it also gave them more time to talk with classmates and relax before their next class.

And that’s important. That leads us to thing three.

The researchers say that time to socialize and regroup is just as important as healthy eating.

Melissa Prescott, the co-author of this study says: “We found significantly fewer social interactions during the 10-minute lunchtimes. That indicates other positive outcomes may come from longer lunch breaks as well.”

The researchers are suggesting schools set aside 20 minutes of seated lunchtime for their students each day.

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