Food for Thought: Do We Have Enough Time to Eat?

Emily Wallace, News Editor

When parents, teachers, students, donors, and alums gather at Mayfield for a special event, our community is blessed in the Holy Child tradition and Cub unity. But we do not stop there—Mayfield makes everything better with… [insert trumpets blaring and roll out a red carpet]… FOOD!

From the sparkling Mayfield punch to the beautiful and delectable treats, courtesy of Mrs. Malloy, our school is thankful for the bounty. Of course, we also have the classic vending machine, or as it should be referred to as “the source of energy that gets one through third block,” and the yummy lunch options that fill the Commons. 

Yet this year, our enjoyment of the Mayfield banquet is often hindered by our limited time to eat. Let’s have a look at the eating schedule.

The activity block at 10:40 every morning has been shortened on Mondays and Fridays in order to give students a one-hour lunch. Tuesday through Thursday have a 40- minute lunch.  While this may seem like a typical school schedule, the only day with a morning snack break is Tuesday.

While the benefits of a long lunch are many, the issue concerns the timing of our meals throughout the day. It does not seem that enough time is set aside to eat during the seven-hour school day. 

This topic is rather subjective because there are some students who have enough time in the morning to stop at Starbucks on their way to school (maybe 0.05%), those who do not have time but still go to Starbucks and visit the attendance office quite often as a result (around 20%), those who eat breakfast regularly in the morning, and then those who are not hungry at all.

At the end of the day, or really at the beginning, you have students who are enjoying pancakes, eggs, bacon, orange juice, and french toast before you can even say “Good Morning!” Across the dining table, sits the one who can only manage a bowl of cereal, and then there is the person who cannot even go near the kitchen or even think of food. Even a simple Eggo waffle is too much. 

For the latter, it is simply unhealthy to wait all day to eat lunch at 1:00 p.m. For those who have a small breakfast, relying on a single granola bar around 10:30 in a passing period that you are already using to print your essay before class is not the most ideal scenario either. Even if you do eat a substantial breakfast regularly, maybe you still feel like you need a little boost three hours later versus six if you wait until lunch.

True Health Medicine, an online medical question resource, references studies conducted on the importance of routine eating times from day to day. 

“A new study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition suggests that those who consume regular meals have better overall diets. The study also showed regular meals contributed to a lower consumption of sugary drinks and fast foods, plus an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.”

On a more scientific note, “According to Harvard Medical School, “Our bodies are also programmed to sense a lack of food as starvation. In response, our [basal metabolic rate] (BMR) slows down, which means fewer calories burned over time.”

Bad habits now could lead to nutrition problems later in life. While some students might sneak a snack in their second block, this is not a proper time specified for eating, aside from the fact the Mayfield Handbook prohibits eating during class. 

In addition, students who snack during Community and Assemblies in Pike can no longer rely on this time to eat in the future. A recent stress has been placed on keeping food outside of the auditorium with hope to fix our trash issue on campus. Out of respect for our maintenance crew, having an eating time before assembly would avoid the messiness while also satisfying hunger. 

Perhaps it’s time to institute a recess break. Not to go out on the playground like we did in middle school (although that might be fun!), but to have a bite to eat to maintain our insulin levels. What about a 15-minute snack break at 10:30 a.m. each day just to keep our growling stomachs at rest? Does each student need to be more responsible to eat on her own time? If I don’t have time, should I eat in class even if that is against school rules?

If you have an opinion on the topic, I encourage you to share with others at lunch time and see what happens. Maybe we do need just a little more time to fuel our minds and celebrate the importance of…wait for it… cue the trumpets… FOOD at Mayfield! All in favor say “AYE” or “ APPLE PIE”—whichever you prefer.