School lunches have almost always had a bad reputation for being relatively unhealthy and pretty gross. Well, that’s probably how we remember them to be anyway. Luckily for today’s school age children school lunches have become much more healthier. In fact, 99% of the schools in the US are serving healthier lunches since the Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act was passed in 2010.
According to the Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act, schools are now required to serve a menu that includes meat or meat alternatives, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and milk and that children are required to choose at least three of them for their lunch and one of them has to be a ½ cup of fruit or vegetable or a combination of both. For example a typical school lunch may look like this:
1 apple (½ cup fruit)
Peas (½ cup of vegetables)
Hot dog on a bun (1oz of grain and 1oz of meat)
Sounds pretty standard and balanced right? Unfortunately the truth is that when we send our children to school we expect them to make the right choices when it comes to nutrition and they aren’t. School age children throw out in excess of $1.3 BILLION in food annually in the US. We could cross out fingers and expect that are children are eating the fruits and vegetables and throwing out the not so healthier aspects of their lunch but they are actually throwing out:
- 73% of all vegetables
- 47% of all fruits
- 25% of all milk
- 19% of all entrees (meats, grains, etc.)
So although, school lunches are getting healthier, school age children aren’t eating healthier. What’s a parent supposed to do then? Go to school every day and sit with their child and make sure they clean their plate and eat all their fruits and vegetables? Well, not only is that not a viable solution (most schools just don’t allow for parents to show up out of the blue and supervise their childrens lunch) but can you imagine your child’s embarrassment if you did? Instead of going to such drastic extremes, consider packing your child’s lunch with healthy school standard lunches with the foods you know your child will eat and not throw out. Or according to LabDoor you could also try the following suggestions:
- Start talking to your children about what they eat and don’t eat at school
- Eat balanced nutritious meals at home and show your children how to enjoy eating healthy.
- Lastly, consider consulting with your physician or pediatric about supplementing your child’s diet with vitamins.
By ensuring that your child is eating a healthy lunch at school, not only will it allow them to maintain a healthy lifestyle it will also help them to focus and pay attention better in school. To learn more about school lunches and what our children are throwing out just check out the infographic attached provided by LabDoor. LabDoor is a free online review site that researches vitamins and supplements to help consumers find the right and best ones for their needs. You can visit http://labdoor.com to learn more.