Are Students Allowed To Eat In Class

Are Students Allowed To Eat In Class

Lunch breaks are important as it enables students to reset both their minds and bodies. So long as they use their time wisely, they’re able to come back to class with clear minds and relaxed bodies.

Despite the allocated times for lunch breaks, students can sometimes be seen openly eating in class. And while some teachers permit this, the question remains whether eating in class is generally accepted.

No, although every instructor has a different policy regarding eating in class, the majority of teachers forbid students from eating in class as it would distract the student, their peers, and ongoing lessons.

Some may permit snacks as long as they’re quiet, but wouldn’t permit a whole dish and set of silverware. However, since they trust their older students to make wise decisions, the majority of tertiary institution professors may not give this any thought, especially in larger classes.

Why Teachers Forbid Eating In Class

Let’s take a look at why a majority of teachers forbid students from eating in their classes.


Imagine standing in front of a class full of students who are quietly listening to a lesson, suddenly a student pulls out their breakfast or lunch and starts eating. Everyone’s attention instantly shifts to the student, especially if they’re making a bit of noise.

While the student may claim to be concentrating on the lesson, the truth is that their attention is divided now. The smell of the food and noise would also divide the attention of their peers.

In a quiet classroom, most snack packages can be quite noisy and the treats themselves can also create loud crunches or noises. Other students who might already be hungry would not be able to fully concentrate on the lesson as well.


While the smell of food may not necessarily cause an allergic reaction, students who may be sensitive to some ingredients could experience eye redness and irritation, sneezing, and tearing.

Depending on the food, the smell could also bother some students or simply amplify hunger pangs in other, snack-less students.

Lunch Break

Most educational institutions provide students with a minimum of 30 minutes for their lunch breaks. Teachers expect students to leverage the allotted period to eat their lunch and even visit the bathroom if necessary.

They have a curriculum to complete and have planned lessons around the allotted time given to them. And with recess periods and lunch breaks available for students, teachers do not expect students to spend their 45 to 90-minute classes eating.

Attracts Bugs

Food easily attracts bugs and it’s quite easy to forget the wrapper or the remainder of the food hidden in their desks. Additionally, crumbs left behind can also attract cockroaches, ants, and other insects.

Unprofessional Habit

Schools are training grounds that prepare students for the workforce. Most companies forbid employees from eating in their offices and consider such actions unprofessional.

And while a few companies may tolerate such behavior, the majority still forbid employees from eating in the office. Students should therefore learn to fit their meals into the allotted time frame.

Why Teachers Allow Eating In Class

While the majority of teachers may forbid eating in class, there’re some that allow the activity in their classes. Reasons for this indulgence include:

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Shorter Lunch Breaks

Students are only allowed about 25 minutes of lunch break which may not be enough time to get to the cafeteria, finish eating and then return to class. In some cases, students who need to use the bathroom would have even lesser time to eat and then return to class.


Unfortunately, concentrating during an ongoing class on an empty stomach can be difficult and unproductive. Having the opportunity to eat in class or simply take a snack in class, can help hungry students concentrate on the ongoing lesson.

Mature Students

Professors in colleges may be more likely to allow students to eat in class as they expect their mature students to make good decisions for themselves. Most of these students are considered adults and expected to make decisions that are beneficial to them.

After all, you don’t your professor to tell you that eating in class may distract you and your peers. Students must have considered these before deciding on proceeding with the activity.

Larger Classes

In larger classrooms or auditoriums, it would be difficult for a teacher or professor to identify students who might be eating. Most students looking to eat in such larger classes would try to relocate to the back of the class.

Time Efficient

Instead of spending 30 minutes to an hour chatting and eating, eating and learning at the same time can be time efficient. Students get to leverage their lunch breaks to perform other productive activities.


Students may go for up to 90 minutes sitting and learning in class. 5 to 10 minutes break during or between classes would enable them to enjoy a snack to better prepare themselves for upcoming classes.

Unforeseen Circumstances

Knowing that most teachers forbid students from eating in class, it’s advisable for students to always take their breakfast before coming to school.

Unfortunately, certain unforeseen circumstances sometimes make it impossible for a student to have their breakfast at home.

As a result, some teachers allow students to eat the class but only recommend that they do so quietly and also possibly make it a small snack.


Is Eating In Class A Distraction

While eating in class may be permitted in the absence of a teacher, eating during a class would distract students, their peers, and the current lesson. After all, classrooms are learning environments for all students.

Time management is important and students are expected to adequately manage their time during the day. If you’re unable to utilize the lunch break, a small snack during recess would help energize students for the duration of a class.

Is Eating In Class Disrespectful

Yes, eating in class can distract other students (smell and noise) and disrupt an ongoing class which is disrespectful to the teacher and students who are concentrating on the lesson.

Keep in mind that teachers go through a lot of work preparing lessons that their students can easily understand in a limited time frame. Disrupting the class is disrespectful to both the teacher and your peers who might be enjoying the lesson.

Imagine sitting in a class, concentrating on a lesson, and then the student next to you suddenly starts snacking on some loud chips, fish, or some other crunchy or smelly food. You suddenly feel hungry and can’t focus on what the teacher is saying anymore.

While the student who’s eating may not be fully concentrating on the ongoing lesson, other students who might already be enjoying the lesson would be affected by this activity.

If for any reason at all a student was unable to have their breakfast or lunch and needs to eat, it’s advisable to seek permission from the teacher and also relocate to the back of the class to avoid distracting other students.

Even then, you should ensure that you’re only eating some snacks you picked up along the way and properly dispose of the wrapper as well as any leftovers to avoid inviting cockroaches and other insects into the classroom.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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