Want Students to Stop Throwing Food Away? Take Them to Recess First, Experts Say

Could letting students go to recess before lunch help kids appreciate their fruits and vegetables?
Want Students to Stop Throwing Food Away? Take Them to Recess First, Experts Say


In Montana, a number of schools have adopted Recess Before Lunch, a program that school officials says has improved behavior and reduced food waste. 

Schools across America are struggling with the latest development in the ongoing fight for better nutrition for kids — school lunches have gotten much healthier, but kids are also throwing out the fresh produce they’re served every day.

That information is even more troubling considering that both the U.S. government and the United Nations have announced plans to reduce overall food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.

Currently, food loss and waste accounts for 31 percent — or 133 billion pounds — of the total food supply available to American retailers and consumers, according to the United States Department of Agriculture

In an effort to help children better appreciate the food available to them, however, the state of Montana has introduced a modified schedule, putting recess before lunch.

The program, which is even called Recess Before Lunch, “allows Montana students to enjoy active play right before indulging in a nutritious school lunch meal that allows them to return to class ready for academic success,” according to RBL.


The program is not mandatory in Montana, but has been praised by a number of school officials, including one principal, Kim Anderson who noted that there was “improved behavior in afternoon classes” and that he noticed “students are eating better and wasting less food.”