The Fight over Healthy School Lunches
School districts across the country face with the problem of getting kids to eat health school lunches on a regular basis. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2012 set strict criteria for the kinds of foods school districts can serve. It focuses on low fat, low sodium, and emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. Unfortunately, this rarely offers the taste kids are looking for in their lunches and either leaves them hungry or reaching for less than healthy snacks like chips.
I know firsthand from my girls that this is a real problem. If we are going to focus on healthy diets for our children, the food we feed them must appeal to their taste buds. Lunch ladies will tell you that it’s a battle.
They work hard to develop healthy school lunches kids will eat, but realize there are a few obstacles to overcome. One is timing- Kids have roughly twenty minutes to get through the lunch line, eat, socialize and get back to class, making it a bit impossible for them to eat a whole apple, or salad. The softer foods are quicker to eat, such as soups or sandwiches.
The processed food conglomerates work diligently to continually improve the taste of junk food making it more addictive to kids. This only makes the job of school nutritionists that much harder. Some have discovered, kids will be more apt to eat healthy school lunches that are spiced up a bit. It’s a matter of finding foods with a balance of herbs and spices with a broad appeal. Meals like curried chicken, taco bars, and Italian subs are popular options in one school district.
Parents can serve an important role that will help the schools out with getting kids to eat healthy lunches and snacks. If we can encourage our kids to make the right healthy choices
at home, they will be more apt to make them at school too. One way we can help our kids to eat better is to show them quick and easy ways to make a healthy lunch at home.
The Bento Box is a popular lunch option, originating from Japan. It’s a box with individual sections a for different types of food, almost, like the 21 Day Fix containers, but in one main container. Kids can pack the foods they like, such as cut up fruit, veggies, hummus or cheese squares. There are sections for lean proteins too, like tuna, egg salad or diced chicken. This lets kids create their own healthy lunches at home where they will take with them what they will eat and make both mom and kid very happy.
If packing a lunch is not in the cards, kids can bring with them the spices they like on their foods to improve the taste of a school lunch.
How do you combat these school lunch issues in your home?