Tired of Packing Lunch?
School lunch is a convenient and economical option for busy families! In fact, it takes a real balancing act to beat school lunch’s value with a bag lunch! If you haven’t already, give it a try.
- School lunches offer a variety of foods from the My Pyramid and meet very specific guidelines for protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Guidelines also limit the amount of fat and saturated fat allowed.
- Cost-wise they’re a great value. A typical school lunch contains an entrée, two servings of fruits and vegetables, a grain item and milk.
- Research shows that students who eat school meals are more likely to consume milk, meats, grains and vegetables compared to students who don’t, including students who bring lunch from home. They also have higher intakes of some “problem nutrients,” including calcium and vitamin A.
Pack Plenty of Good Nutrition in Lunches from Home
When children take their lunch to school, make good nutrition a priority and involve them in planning. Their “buy-in” makes it less likely foods will be traded, out in the garbage, or come home uneaten.
- As a rule-of-thumb, make sure lunches include at least three of My Pyramid’s Five Food Groups
- Instead of packing a fruit juice, fruit-drink or soft drink, have children buy milk. Research show that children who drink milk with lunch are more likely to meet their daily calcium needs. Fruit-flavored and soft drinks provide calories and few, if any, nutrients.
- Let them buy flavored milk if they prefer it. It has the same nutrients as white milk. Research shows that children who drink flavored milk don’t consume more fat or sugar than children who drink only white milk.
- Serve the same foods with a new twist. Cut cheese into cubes instead of slices or cut apples into circles instead of wedges.
- Consider likes and dislikes. Have your children help you create a list of foods they like for lunch. Take them to the grocery store and ask for lunch box suggestions.
- Keep foods safe. Use an insulated lunch box that includes an ice pack.
Questions about the menu,
call Mr. Randy Weitz @ (715) 356-5252 ext. 3402.
Source: Nutrition Explorations: Parents: School Lunch