301 Healthy Lunch & Recess

Based on research done Price, Joseph., & Just, David. R., (2015) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

In school cafeterias, how do we get kids to eat healthy: like, fruits and veggies; when chips, sugary, and oil-laden snacks seem more on their radar?

Researchers from Cornell and Brigham Young Universities evaluated seven Utah elementary schools with 2500 first through sixth graders to see the impact that time of recess has on the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Three schools moved recess to before lunch whereas the other four left recess after lunch. Researchers observed the amount of food wasted at lunch time in both pre-and post-recess schools. Findings indicate that in schools with lunch after recess, consumption of fruits and veggies increased by 54% overall and 45% in the number of children eating at least one serving of fruits or veggies, compared to schools with lunch before recess, which had a small decrease in healthy food consumption. Researchers suggest that lunch after recess causes students to feel hungrier and more time for relaxed eating, versus hurrying through lunch to get to recess for more play time.

Schools! Make recess before lunch. Kids will eat more fruit and vegetables, thus, increasing childhood health and decreasing the waste of healthy food options.


Price, J., & Just, D. R. (2015). Lunch, recess and nutrition: Responding to time incentives in the cafeteria. Preventive Medicine71, 27-30. 

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