Healthier Options for School Lunches
Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 at 2:08 pm
Want to ensure that you kids are eating healthy lunches at school? There are plenty of ways to help make that happen. Parents can be choosy about what they put into their children’s lunches and substitute healthy food for junk food. Or, parents can have their kids purchase a healthy lunch from their school.
Are your kids asking for junk food to be placed in their school lunch? Parents can substitute healthier foods instead. Choose something that has close to the same taste and texture as the junk food they desire.
Instead of buying Lunchables, parents can put together their own version. Most Lunchables consist of crackers, small slices of cheese, and small slices of lunchmeat. Put together a home made version of Lunchables by selecting crackers, cheese, and lunchmeat that are healthy. For example, give your kid cheddar cheese, organic crackers, and lunchmeat that doesn’t include a bunch of extra chemicals.
There is now a wide range of substitutions for potato chips. Offer sweet potato chips instead. Get a bag of veggie chips that includes chips made from potato, spinach and carrots. These kinds of chips are crunchy, colorful, and a lot less salty than typical potato chips.
Another option is to select one of the varieties of chips that don’t contain potato at all. Today, there are chips made from beans, hummus, pitas, bagels, and chickpeas.
Be careful when selecting juice boxes. Read the ingredients and find out how much sugar is in them. People assume all juice boxes are equally healthy – but that is not so! Instead of a juice box, parents can purchase a small thermos that will fit into a lunchbox or lunch bag. Fill the thermos with a juice that isn’t so sugary. Or, fill the thermos with water and help your kid stay hydrated.
Make fruits and vegetables easy to eat – and your child will eat them at lunch. Grapes are bite sized. Banana chips are easy to eat. Other good selections include baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and fruit snacks that are organic or made by a company that doesn’t add a ton of junk to the product.
The lunch your kid can buy at school today is a whole lot healthier than what you were offered when you were his or her age. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 ensures that students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week.
The Act has increased the offering of whole grain-rich foods. Kids are now offered only fat-free or low-fat milk. The lunches now have a correct portion size based on the age of the children. There has also been a reduction in the amount of sodium, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats in the school lunches.