Instructional Lunches

Instructional Lunches Kids.jpg

Nutrition education should be part of a comprehensive health education curriculum, but may also be integrated throughout the school curriculum. For example, students could learn how to read a recipe and how to analyze food advertisements in language arts classes. School gardens and farm-to-school activities also provide opportunities for hands-on learning about food, nutrition, and healthy eating.

Research indicates a strong association between lunchtime and student expressions of challenging behavior, bullying, and emotional distress. Instructional lunches provide built in structure that allow all students to take time to relax, fuel their bodies, and organize a plan for productive and fun free play and social time.

Teachers and children join together during lunchtime to eat, engage in social conversations, and reflect on the first part of the day. During this time teachers provide mini lessons on healthy eating habits, nutrition, reinforce table manners and good hygiene. Before leaving the lunch area each student shares with the teacher their play plan. Teachers are also able to use this time to recognize students in distress and provide students the support needed to remain a meaningfully engaged member of the group.