Recently, on our way to the grocery store, my mom and I were talking about some of the interesting reports she had heard on the CBC news at her work. While I’m usually fairly interested in everything she has to report, there was one story that stood out in particular: a Toronto school has recently banned all junk food. My first thought was, “that’d never fly at my school”.
Of course, there are certain political concerns over this as some parents believe that the school is crossing the line over what jurisdiction they have over the children in their care. Others say that it is not part of the school’s responsibility to monitor good nutrition. However, doesn’t every school want its students to be the best they can be? To be alert and attentive and ready to learn in class? I know that I have attended class with a carbohydrate hangover, having had one fry (or handful) or a slice of pizza (or two) too many. The result? I felt groggy and distant the rest of the day.
There is a certain mental effort that needs to be put forth by the students (that means you and me, Buster) in order to eat a healthier lunch, whether that means packing something and bringing it with you or simply being a little more selective than usual in the cafe. However, a healthy lunch – not to mention breakfast – plays an unbelievably important role in our functioning throughout the remainder of the day. For example, a study in the United States by Dr. Agatston found that adding more nutritional foods to the school lunch menu boosted academic performance, with Math scores seeing the highest improvement. All of us who have taken even a smidge of Biology would be unable to deny this fact with any amount of sincerity.
Though it would be better for us all in the long run, I would never tell anyone to never eat pizza or fries again. Certainly not! We all have those days where the craving for something good and greasy is just too much. But, maybe we could all make the effort not to have it for lunch every day. If you do buy your lunches from school, try mixing it up a little. There are plenty of other healthier options available. You know that little fridge next to the coffee, hot chocolate, and all-things-warm-and-delicious drink dispenser? Maybe next time, try grabbing a sandwich from there instead of poutine. If you are, however, dead set on chowing down on some artery-clogging cheese, gravy and what may once have been potatoes, maybe try splitting it with a friend or two.
Perhaps your parents made a little too much for dinner last night – don’t let it go to waste! Pack that stuff up and bring it with you! There is a lovely array of brand new microwaves at your disposal at Campus East. And even if you don’t have any leftovers, an apple or some grapes, granola bar or handful of nuts and ham sandwich (or peanut butter, in my case) and some kind of vegetable wouldn’t be the end of the world either.
I’m not telling you to hop on a dietary bandwagon or anything, or to chew on celery sticks and carrots for the remainder of your school career, but maybe save those two dollars from the vending machines and avoid all the extra chocolatey temptation. Try staying away from those fizzy drinks that hurt like crazy if you happen to take a sip when someone is telling a particularly funny joke. However, investing in some greenery may prove to be more than just a tasty boost to all those busy brain cells of yours! I’m sure that your focus and grades will be coming forward to shake your hand in thanks.
(And, actually, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the carrots and celery wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Just a thought.)
Kima Hazelwood is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. She enjoys writing and reading fantasy, baking, and belly-dancing. Her favourite things about CCH are all the wonderful staff members and linguistics classes.