The New Lunch Lifestyle

Arden Houck, Reporter

The pandemic we are experiencing has changed everything; sports, restaurants, news… high school lunches. Previous to the coronavirus, lunch would consist of the majority of students sitting in the cafeteria, no masks, eating school lunch or something packed from home. With new regulations in place and longer lunch times, the whole lunch dynamic has changed dramatically. Now, it is common for students to run home and make themselves their lunch yielding the question, how has COVID-19 changed school lunch?

Eating over a longer period of time makes for a healthier, more refreshing lunch experience. (Zoe Greener)

Let’s start from the beginning, school regulations. Many schools implemented lunch restrictions to the students in order to promote safety. EVHS allows students to eat on campus but encourages social distancing, limiting friend exposure, and pushing students to leave. They even repealed the “underclassmen cannot leave campus” rule and allow all students to leave during their breaks. Not only that, but the previous 25 minute lunch break has been expanded for almost every student on campus. With the new hybrid schedule in place, it is more common than not to see students that have a lunch break over an hour. 

“The pandemic and the hybrid schedule for school causes me to be home a lot more during the week,” Conal Miner ‘21 explains. “On in-person days I have a break right around noon so that allows me to go home and make food there without having to buy lunch. During online work days, the time at home gives me the opportunity to make lunch at my leisure.” 

Students are using this new time to have a relaxing, home made lunch.

“I kind of like the extra time I have to actually make myself meals because I get more out of it,” Reygan Perse ‘23 adds.

More time at home means more time to cook. 

“I think that this time has allowed me to improve some of my cooking skills and creativity in the kitchen,” Miner explains. 

Many students are allowing themselves to expand their knowledge on cooking and try new things. 

“I can actually cook myself food instead of quickly just grabbing something to eat,” Perse says.  

Prior to the longer lunches, lunch was a rushed event, frantically planned out and rushed eating period. 

“I think it’s better because now I have time to make more options,” Bubba Hereida ‘21 adds.

With the extra time for lunch in the hybrid schedule, students can cook healthy meals during the school day. (Arden Houck)

Students are expanding their cooking skills because they have the opportunity to try new things. They are in now way rushed to quickly make something or eat as fast as they can because they have the leisure to go home and cook for themselves.

Not only that, but the extra time has allowed for students meals to be healthier and more throughout. They can now use healthy ingredients from their homes to make something they like compared to cafeteria meals and snacks. 

“The benefit is that it can be more fresh,” Hereida explains. 

Perse also feels her nutrition has improved since eating at home and having more time for lunch this year.

 “The healthiness of my lunches has changed in a good way because I now put more thought into my lunches and what I am eating,” Perse elaborates.

These slow, healthy meals are giving students the actual refresh that a meal should provide.

 “On most days before the pandemic I would just skip lunches altogether, that ultimately caused me to have less energy throughout the day,” Miner explains. “Now I have more time in general to plan out and cook meals which relieves the stress of not being able to get lunch.” 

The opportunity to think clearly about what the students are eating and the open time to cook meals improved the health levels of what they are consuming. 

Although, the system isn’t perfect. High school lunch was always a time for students to debrief and bond. For many, it was a critical social time throughout the day in which they could be with all of their friends casually eating their lunch. The missed socialization was greatly 

“I like having more time to eat lunch at home, but I miss eating lunch with my friends at school,” Perse reflects.

Miner agrees. He feels that “ one of the biggest pitfalls of being home so often is not getting as much social interaction. The thing I really miss about lunch at school is not being able to see my friends and socialize with other students.” 

The pandemic has really limited social interactions and just a simple thing like school lunch is very different without people around. Some, like Hereida, are fortunate enough “to eat with another family member,” but for many it can get pretty lonely.

Having restrictions on being able to eat at school definitely has an impact on the average student’s lunch. They can go home to eat a relaxing, thought out, healthy meal but at the cost of not being able to see as many people and be with friends. Everyone is still getting used to the constantly changing coronavirus, but luckily, the students have their lunches all figured out.