It’s hard to believe that the middle of May has already come and gone! For parents from coast to coast, this means one thing… School’s out for summer! Or, at least it soon will be. For many parents, you’ve been packing your students lunch all year. So, continuing to provide lunch throughout the summer is no big change. However, for a large number of parents, planning ahead to provide lunches all summer is a daunting task! Instead, let’s make it fun!
For many families, the idea of packing a lunch at home isn’t really an option. Whether it is due to a lack of time, income or knowledge on balanced meals, a school lunch is the only, or at least best, option for many students. So, in order to meet the needs of all students, let’s focus on educating children to build a healthy plate! This way, no matter whether a student’s lunch is packed for them, or handed to them on a divided tray, your kids will know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be eating!
- Know the Facts: It’s important to teach children how much food from each food group they should be eating each day. Depending on the age of the child, they may have a hard time grasping this concept. Especially if they are trying to keep track of their food intake for an entire day. Make it easier by only relying on them to track their lunch foods; you can help by keeping an eye on their breakfast and dinner foods with them. It’s also never a bad idea to send them to school with one of our Kids Right-Sized Portion Plates. The fun design will ensure they’re not embarrassed to use it; the perfectly portioned areas will help them get their servings right.
- Know the Stats: According to the CDC, 1/3 of the U.S. child population is currently overweight or obese. And, unfortunately, this number continues to trend upwards year after year. The excess weight that these children are carrying around has so many immediate and long-term health effects including pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk for many types of cancers.
- Know the Cure: Prevention is the number one cure! Teaching children about balanced eating, being the example they need and demonstrating a physically active lifestyle can all aid in the prevention, and reversal of childhood obesity. According to the CDC:
“The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.”
So, it’s very important to pay attention to every aspect of your lifestyle that will be influencing your child’s behavior; the friends your child plays with, daycare provider and the school your child attends.
So, are you ready for the challenge? This summer, instead of dreading preparing your child’s lunch every day, take time to teach them why you are packing each piece. Tell them that the protein in their lunch helps them build muscle to be strong, the fruit helps them heal from any cuts and bruises, the vegetable helps them see well and stay focused, the whole-wheat grains give them the energy they need to play with their friends all day and dairy keeps their bones strong to avoid breaks and fractures!
We hope that you have found the tips in this blog helpful! It’s all about finding ways to get active and fight obesity in America, especially childhood obesity! Need some more inspiration? The experienced staff at NCES is always here to help! You can find us at www.ncescatalog.com, chat with us from our homepage, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.