In a recent New York Times article, Lesley Alderman highlighted the school lunch program’s focus on government-mandated calorie counts instead of nutrition.
Unhealthy food calories are equal to calories from nutritious foods. This leads to cheap meals that are high in fat, salt, and sugar.
In New York City school districts, the Wellness in the Schools program is placing culinary school graduates in public schools to prepare healthy meals and offer education centered on whole, unprocessed food.
Congress is working on updating the Child Nutrition Act to provide more money to school districts so that they can serve fresh produce and use higher-quality ingredients.
Many schools are providing healthier entrees, but the unhealthy favorites like pressed-meat chicken nuggets are still available.
Expensive, wasteful, and unhealthy prepackaged lunches from the grocery store are not a good choice either.
Teach your child about nutrition at home. Talk with your child about the healthy choices they can make in the lunch line. Prepare nutritious meals together so that they can see what a balanced meal looks like from beginning to end.
If you want to be sure that your child is eating a healthy meal, pack their lunch from home. Invest in a lunch box, thermos, and plastic containers.
Include healthy choices in your child’s lunch like:
• No sugar added applesauce or fruit canned in its natural juices
• Leftovers from a healthy dinner
Remember to be a good example to your child. Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch or eating out of a vending machine, bring your lunch from home too! Develop a habit packing lunch with your child and establish the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.