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Learn the Facts: Healthy School Lunches

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With the kids back in school, it is important you pack them a healthy hearty lunch. Why you ask? Providing a lunch with a mix of protein, carbs and fiber will help give them energy and brainpower to make it through the entire school day as well as help their growing bodies and ward off illness.

 

The only problem; kids have the option of throwing out the lunch you packed and heading to the vending machine if they choose to do so. So how can you pack them a healthy hearty lunch and know that they will actually eat it when lunch time rolls around?

 

An awesome quote from kidshealth.org: “Think of your school lunch as the fuel you put in your tank. If you choose the wrong kind of fuel, you might run out of energy before the day is over. So what is the right kind of fuel? What does a healthy lunch look like?”

 


Ingredients For A Healthy Lunch


Whether you pack their lunch or give them the option to eat from the school cafeteria, here are 10 great tips for a healthier lunch:

  1. Choose fruits and vegetables- they are packed with vitamins and fiber (It is recommended to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day)
  2. Learn the facts about fat- not all fat is bad, in fact, it is good to have some fat in your diet because it keeps you feeling fuller longer
  3. Go for the whole grains- it is important to learn the difference between “grains”. Research shows whole grains are better for you than refined grains (For example; wheat bread and brown rice are made with whole grains whereas 100% white bread and white rice do not contain whole grains)
  4. Be smart about drinks- choose milk or water, avoid packing or buying juices and sodas (Just think extra calories are not wanted in a sensible diet!)
  5. Think balance & remember the food pyramid- include a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, meat or some form of protein and don’t forget the dairy products (if you don’t have a variety, it is probably not balanced!)
  6. Don’t settle for packaged products- most prepackaged foods contains high calorie fats, such as, salt and chocolate (it is okay to have a bag every once in awhile, just not daily)
  7. Create some variety- don’t pack them the same old turkey on whole wheat with mustard every day, teach them that they can have a variety of healthy meals, let them know their are options
  8. Let them know they don’t have to eat everything in front of them- most school lunches last around 20 minutes, teach them the rule of thumb, if you feel full, stop eating. Let them know it is okay if they don’t eat everything you packed them
  9. Teach them the good ole’ lunch time manners- chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk and eat at the same time, use silverware not your hands, place your napkin on your lap and don’t make fun of what someone else is eating. It is OKAY to be different.
  10. The number one rule- let them know not to drink milk and LAUGH! That is a recipe for disaster!

 

 

Provided below is a link for a Food Guide Pyramid- take the opportunity to go over it with your kids- it is a great way to teach them “how to” eat healthy:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/pyramid.html?tracking=K_RelatedArticle

 

 

Here are some other great websites for you to check out:

http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2009/11/19/a-case-for-healthy-school-lunches/

http://www.grinningplanet.com/2006/05-02/healthy-school-lunch-article.htm

http://parentingresources.suite101.com/article.cfm/packing-a-healthy-lunch-for-school

 

Sources:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/grow/school_stuff/school_lunches.html#a_10%20Steps%20to%20a%20Great%20Lunch

http://kidshealth.org/kid/grow/school_stuff/school_lunches.html#a_To%20Buy%20or%20Not%20to%20Buy

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/pyramid.html?tracking=K_RelatedArticle

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Discussion

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