Do you remember that old commercial that used to play on all the major stations, “It’s 10:00 pm, do you know where your kids are?” This topic reminds me of that commercial… with a little twist! It’s lunchtime at school; do you know what your kids are eating? This may sound like a silly question, especially to those of us clued-in to the nutrition world. But, millions of parents send their children to school every day and don’t have a clue what they’re eating. Are they getting a school lunch or joining their friends at the vending machine? And, if their getting a school lunch, are the nutrition standards in your school cafeteria where they need to be for your child to grow up strong and healthy?
No matter what your school is doing to promote nutrition in eduation, the important thing is to educate children on how to make healthy choices as they’re walking through the cafeteria line. Whether you are the parent, the educator or the school food service director, educating kids on how to make healthy choices is how to make sure that they become lifelong healthy eaters. The truth is that no matter how hard schools try to provide healthy options, they still have to be appealing to kids. If the healthy foods provided don’t look as appealing, then kids may choose to not eat at all, which is just as bad as going to the vending machine. It’s important to help kids learn to choose the healthiest foods available to them. For example, a good lunch choice would be baked chicken breast, vegetable, fruit and milk instead of fried chicken strips, mashed potatoes and fruit salad or dessert with juice. And, remember, if you’re student just doesn’t seem to like any of the healthy options provided, you may want to consider packing a lunch to ensure that your child is getting the foods they need to stay full throughout the day.
Just remember this, it’s not only important to monitor what your children are eating today. Also educate them about how to make healthy choices for themselves. Are you looking for great ways to educate students of every age on health and nutrition? NCES offers a full line of educational handouts and portion plates aimed at educating tots, kids and teens! Check them out at the previous links! Plus, stick around next week as we’ll be going over tips for raising a healthy family directly from these handouts. See you then!