Children must get the proper nutrition that their growing bodies need. School breakfast and lunch programs should offer healthy options for children to select from. These programs should include protein, carbohydrates and dairy selections, with reasonable amounts of vegetables and fresh fruits. The following are some practical tips to help you make an impact and effective school food program.
1. Determine why the children will not eat their food
Children often bring home their lunch at the school’s day end. Some common reasons why some of their lunch box food remains uneaten include:
1. Too dry: Perhaps you put filling into your sandwiches, such as peanut butter or dips. Children may avoid these fillings because they can get too dry inside of a lunch box. To keep the fillings fresher, try to not cut the sandwich and just leave it whole.
2. Boredom: Children love new and different things, and can be bored by routines. This means packing different lunches every day. This could mean including different fruits and veggies in each lunch box or cutting up their sandwiches in different ways each day.
3. Sticky or cumbersome foods: Some foods can be too sticky for children to enjoy at school. Others come in packaging that can be difficult for them to open without assistance from an adult. Ensure that the foods that you pack are manageable and as easy for children to eat as possible.
4. Lunch box style: Your child may dislike their lunch box style. Perhaps they want the box that has the latest popular cartoon’s characters on it or to have a box that matches what their friends have. It may just be too hard or embarrassing for them to open.
5. Make the most of other meals: When all else fails and your child will not eat prepared lunches, try to offer the best breakfast and dinner that you can offer at every opportunity. Believe that your child will eat something whenever they do feel hungry.
2. Food preparation for busy families
For busy families, it is best to make simple meals for the children. Sandwiches are quick, versatile options that can be made the night before school starts and can last a few hours while stored in a lunch box. Foods that can be frozen and taken out to be used as part of a child’s school lunch includes:
1. Peanut butter
4. Cooked meat
3. Foods that parents should pack for school lunch
Here are a few excellent choices for school lunch foods:
1. Vegetables (preferably crunchy)
2. Protein, such as meat slices, peanut butter or a hardboiled egg
3. Starches, such as rolls, flatbread, crackers or whole wheat bread
4. Fresh fruit
5. Dairy, such as cheese sticks, yogurt or grated cheese
5. Top drinks for lunch boxes
Some great drink choices for a child’s school lunch box includes:
1. Water: It can be frozen to keep cold foods cold in the child’s lunch box.
2. Milk: This drink can also be frozen.
3. Sugary, sweet drinks: Juices, sports drinks, soft drinks and others are not nutritious and should not be packed.
6. Peer pressure
The foods that a child’s friends bring to school will influence them. So will food advertisements about their favorite movies and TV shows. Take an active approach to keep healthy food options available for your child. If a healthy approach is a big change for them, remember that it will take some time for them to adjust. Eventually, they will become more comfortable eating these healthier foods as they become more familiar to them.