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3 Ways To Make School Lunch Healthier

Britney Fitzgerald is the web editor for KIWI magazine. Growing up, her favorite school lunch was a veggie burrito.

Take Your Parents to Lunch Day

The leaves are changing, and fall is here again! With crisper weather comes pumpkin-flavored treats, evenings spent by a fire, and kids headed back to class. It also means parents are once again faced with a daunting question: What (healthy) food will my child eat for lunch?

Check out three tips below for parents who hope to make this school year a happy, healthy one:

Strike a balance.

Well-rounded lunches help kids meet their daily nutritional needs while giving them the energy to make it through busy school days. Half of each meal should consist of vitamin-rich fruit and veggies. Divide the remaining half equally between whole grains and lean protein like turkey, beans, or low-fat yogurt. If the protein doesn’t include dairy, consider adding a carton of low-fat milk or soymilk.

Participate in National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.

Buying lunch in the school cafeteria may conjure up thoughts of “mystery meat” for some parents, but thanks to updated federal nutrition standards, many schools now whip up wholesome meals. Don’t believe me? On October 16th, KIWI magazine and the School Nutrition Association are hosting National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. This event gives moms and dads the opportunity to visit their child’s lunchroom, and learn more about what goes into putting together a healthy lunch.

By participating, you’re opening up the lines of communication—and spending some quality time with your kiddo. Plus, you could win a $1,000 grant from the Whole Kids Foundation® to go toward improving you kid’s lunch program! Learn more about Lunch Day 2013 by clicking here.

Pack natural and organic foods.

Because of their small size and rapid growth rates, children are especially vulnerable to the artificial additives, synthetic chemicals and pesticides found in many conventional foods. Pack all-natural foods made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and go organic when possible. It’s healthier for kids—and the planet! Need help coming up with nourishing lunch ideas? Check out some of KIWI magazine’s kid-friendly recipes.

Hope to see you at National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day on October 16th! Tell me, what’s your child’s favorite healthy food to eat in the lunchroom? 

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peggy murnane says …

I worked in the school cafeterias and they need to have more fresh selections for the students. I felt it was such a waste at the end of the day they have to toss what is left. they should find a way to donate to the hungry

JR says …

There is little to no scientific evidence to support our obsession with low fat foods. There is a growing body of evidence that shows we should avoid grains, especially processed grains, and low fat milk (basically sugar water). Do you base your recommendations on actual science, or just conventional wisdom?

Aimee says …

I'm with JR (at least on the fat issue). I have no children, but if I did, I'd rather serve them yogurt made with whole milk from grass-fed cows than with low-fat milk from grain-fed cows. Not to mention that many yogurts for kids have artificial colors and flavors, or that "sugar-free" yogurts almost always use artificial sweeteners which are worse health-wise than sugar is. Instead of recommending yogurt that is low-fat, why not recommend yogurt that is grass-fed and artificial-free? Although, I do believe that low-fat or fat-free milk is ok as long as it's from grass-fed cows. I cannot emphasize grass-fed enough. It means more for the nutritional content of milk than any fat-level does.

cdc says …

I know the favorite things they will eat!