Worried your kids aren’t eating enough vegetables?
Parents and caregivers know all too well the struggle to get children to eat foods packed with the vitamins and minerals they need, but new research from the University of Illinois suggests a simple fix. According to a new study, getting kids to eat more fruits and veggies could be as easy as having them sit at the lunch table longer.
Researchers observed hundreds of school lunches and found that when kids have limited time to sit and eat, they eat what’s most appealing to them and leave the rest. It’s common for students to only have about 10 minutes to eat lunch at school, even if their lunch period is longer, some of that time is taken up by waiting in line for food. And kids who only get to sit down and actually eat lunch for 10 minutes were found to eat fewer nutritious fruits and veggies.
But when their time at the table was increased to 20 minutes? Those kids consumed more of the healthy vegetables and fruits on their plate. Health experts recommend at least 20 minutes of seated time for school lunches, but no federal policy on lunch period duration exists in the U.S. Study authors point out that for some students, their biggest meal of the day is the one they get at school, so giving them the opportunity to take advantage of every nutrient they can makes sense.