School has always been a time when children begin to make their own lifestyle decisions. School-aged children pick up information quickly and thus are influenced by their peers and current events. This is a crucial time to discuss and promote healthy eating habits. Involving children in the planning and preparation of their lunchboxes allows them to learn concerning healthy eating while also allowing them to make independent decisions regarding what they will eat during a day.
Tips for Healthier School Lunch for Your Child
Following are the tips for healthier school snacks:
- Avoid Packaged Snacks
Several schools have vending machines or cafeterias that sell salty snacks, candy, as well as soda. Healthy school snacks are okay to eat occasionally, but they should never be on their lunch menu.
- Allow Whole Grains to Reign Supreme
“Grains” refers to things like bread, cereal grains, rice, and pasta. However, as we understand nutrition better, it becomes clear that whole wheat is superior to refined grains. So, what is the difference between the two? White rice is not a whole grain, but brown rice is. Whole-wheat bread, on the other hand, contains whole grains, while other white bread does not.
- Slurp Sensibly
This is not just regarding what you eat; it’s also about what you drink! For a long time, milk has always been a popular lunchtime beverage. If you don’t like milk, go for water instead. Juice drinks, as well as sodas, should be avoided.
- Choose Vegetables and Fruit
Whenever it comes to nutrition, vegetables and fruits are much like hitting the jackpot. They add color to your plate while also providing vitamins and fiber. At least five different servings of vegetables and fruits should be consumed each day, so try to include one or two at lunch. A serving is a small amount of food. Twelve cups of carrots, i.e., approximately six baby carrots, constitute a serving of carrots. One medium orange could be considered a fruit serving.
- Lunch Should Be Balanced
When people talk more about balanced meals, they’re referring to meals that contain a variety of food groups, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and sometimes protein foods, and dairy products like milk and cheese. This is something you should try with your lunch. Likely, your plate isn’t balanced if it doesn’t contain a variety of foods. A balanced lunch would not include a double regular order of fries, for example.
Importance of School-Aged Child Nutrition
As children get older, they demand the same nutritious foods that adults do and additional minerals and vitamins to support their growing bodies. This includes whole grains (whole rice, oats, maize, beans, millet, quinoa); a broad range of fruits and veggies; calcium (milk, yogurt, or lactose-free substitutes); and nutritious proteins. The keyword for kids aged 5 to 12 is variety. Healthy eating habits can be maintained with the help of creative serving ideas.