How Long Lunch Lines Affect Your Students

School Nutrition Solutions

Most schools are experiencing longer lunch lines than ever. Student populations are increasing steadily, and more and more students are participating in their school lunch programs. 

School lunch programs are beneficial to students in a multitude of ways. The right nutritional meals provide students with:  

  • Increased focus and stamina to enhance learning  
  • Improved performance, resulting in higher test scores and higher levels of participation in extra-curricular activities
  • Improved behavior in the classroom, reducing hyperactivity and hunger-related behavioral issues
  • An understanding of how to make better nutritional choices 

While there are many positive benefits to serving students through school lunch programs, many schools have just 20 or 30-minute blocks of time for students to take a break for mealtimes. Significantly longer cafeteria lines mean substantially less time for students toget the adequate nutrition they need to increase their attentiveness and enhance their learning for the rest of the school day. 

When lunch lines take up too much of a student’s lunchtime, this can result in the following school nutrition shortcomings: 

  • Students are too rushed to receive the health benefits associated with stress-free digestion. 
  • Students will increase “fast-food” choices rather than better-for-you nutritional options that take longer or are less exciting to eat, such as a raw apple versus a brownie. 
  • Increased food waste on students’ meal trays, which means students are not receiving quality nutrition, and ultimately decreasing their overall classroom performance. 
  • Increased budgetary and cafeteria waste because of unselected, nutritional options, including those required by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) guidelines. 

Nationally, more than 70% of fruit and vegetables are thrown away by elementary school children, and overall school food waste accounts for an estimated $1.2 billion annual loss.  

There are only so many school hours in a day. Along with lunchtime, school administrators have to consider classroom instruction time, contract requirements, and increased nutritional regulations when planning and scheduling. As budgets are slashed, staff are stretched thin, and educational standards are changing, streamlining cafeteria lines to ensure adequate lunchtime is an increasingly significant challenge that can seem impossible to overcome.  

 We get it. Feeding hundreds or even thousands of students each day is not an easy feat. At Harris School Nutrition Solutions, we work with school administrators and food service directors in streamlining and speeding up their school lunch lines to support cafeteria staff and serve students better. We provide a suite of fully integrated, customizable, and comprehensive school lunch software solutions designed to: 

  • Serve students more efficiently and reduce long lunch lines 
  • Streamline cafeteria management, services, and processes 
  • Decrease food waste and wasted budgetary resources  
  • Provide quality, nutritious meals to students, with adequate meal times
  • Foster improved student education, performance, and behavior through nutrition 

 With more than 30 years of experience in providing school nutritional support and services to more than 4,000 schools and districts across the country, our team of friendly experts is eager to provide you with support and solutions in: 

  • Efficient serving and cafeteria line management 
  • Maximizing budgetary decision-making, while minimizing waste 
  • Menu planning, meal preparation, with additional support for special nutritional and dietary needs 
  • Engaging students to participate in meal programs choices and offerings while providing better lunchtime experiences 
  • Adhering to National School Lunch Program (NSLP) guidelines 
  • Quick and accurate data entry and transfers across your school district’s systems, including reporting 

Ready to learn more about streamlining your lunchlines and simplifying your processes? Contact Harris School Nutrition Solutions today to effectively enhance the performance across your students, your staff, and your schools.