Kids’ nutrition: dissecting school lunches

Sep 2nd 2014

Make your kids' nutrition a priority.

Between revised routines, homework assignments and bus schedules, parents whose kids are attending school for the first time have a lot to learn. Just thinking about it makes my head spin! Among all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to overlook kids' nutrition during the school day, which is a big mistake that can cause students to feel fatigued and less focused. Proper nutrition is necessary to fuel the body and mind of your little academic all-star, so it's important to understand what goes into the meals being served in the school's cafeteria. Fortunately, in recent years the USDA school lunch programs have gone through many changes, and the result is that wholesome, tasty food options are available, promoting healthy eating habits for kids of all ages. Fresh fruit and veggies will benefit our kids' nutrition. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama championed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It implemented the first major changes to school lunch programs in 15 years. The new standards improved the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program by featuring healthier, better-balanced meals. Today, a typical school lunch optimizes kids' nutrition by including foods like:
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Meat/meat alternative
  • Milk
The changes are evident when I reviewed the local school's lunch menu. I noticed some time-tested favorites, but there are also plenty of new options for kids' nutrition that include fresh fare and wholesome treats. If you have questions about your child's school menu, give the school office a call or shoot the administrator an email. When it comes to your child's nutrition, any concern you have should be addressed. Not sure if your child prefers hot or cold lunch? Simply ask! By going over the cafeteria menu together, you can determine which days your child wants a nutritious lunch from the school cafeteria and when you need to pack a lunchbox. No matter which option you pick, you can feel confident our kids' nutrition is better and that you are making healthy eating choices. And all families get an A for that effort.