The Daily Feed: Run Around First, Eat Second

Kids who enjoy recess before lunch consume more milk, fruits and vegetables

Sometimes you hear about something so sensible, you wonder why it’s not common practice everywhere.

The New York Times is reporting that when students at some schools have recess before lunch, they consume more milk, fruits, and vegetables. Anecdotally, at least, their behavior is calmer, too.

At my kids’ elementary school, the children must sit for at least 10 minutes at lunch before raising their hands to be excused for recess. Some sit longer, of course, but others are so eager to bolt towards the playground that they wolf down their food lightning-fast. And who can blame them? Recess is a major draw.

If playtime were first, kids might actually linger a bit longer over lunch, maybe take that extra sip of milk, that extra bite of apple.  After all, why rush when the next activity is math, or a test?

A member of the Oakland School Food Alliance confirmed that switching recess and lunch is a current topic of discussion among members of her group as well.

Granted, swaps like this can be logistically tough, but even I, a full-grown adult, see clearly the appeal of working up an appetite before sitting down to eat. It just makes sense.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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