The New Look of School Lunch
Summer is over and it’s back to school for a new year of learning. And this year, learning is all about health.
Nourish the body, nourish the mind.
With the connection between healthy living and academic performance growing clearer and clearer, we know that an integral part of learning is to nourish both the mind and the body for a child to reach his or her maximum potential. And this year when your kids go back to school, they will get to enjoy healthier school lunch, breakfast and snacks and beverages that are packed with the nutrients they need to play and perform to the best of their abilities.
What to Expect in Healthier Lunches
Over the past few years, updated nutrition standards have been phased into school lunch and breakfast programs. One of the big steps forward is the requirement that students choose a fruit or vegetable serving at breakfast and lunch, which is supported by recent findings that kids are wanting to eat more whole fruits. Students will also find more “fuel” on their plates as all grains must be whole grain-rich which contributes to increasing fiber content that is known to provide great health benefits. Coupled with the new nutritional standards this year to reduce sodium levels in food served in schools as well as serving low fat ( 1% milk fat) and/or fat free milk and dairy products helps to make school meals the healthiest option for feeding our future – our kids!
Visualize it! Check out these infographic from the USDA
How to Help Kids Choose the Healthiest Meals
- Review the menu with your student – it is usually posted on the school’s website!
- Teach them to “eat a rainbow” at home so that they take advantage of the variety of colorful fruits and vegetables offered daily to maximize their nutrient intake.
- Keep trying. Sometimes it takes several tries before your child will fully embrace a new food. Keep introducing different healthy options and soon they may become the norm.
- Make breakfast part of your routine! Find out if your school offers a breakfast program, either in the cafeteria or in the classroom. If so, encourage your child to participate. If not, make sure breakfast is part of your morning routine. Fueling our bodies in the morning can make or break a successful day.
Hear from Students
"I really hope that healthy choices remain part of our school menu because I have really learned that energy comes from the food choices we eat. Eating healthy choices became a great learning experience at school because I learned about new vegetables and new fruits such as dragon fruits and star fruits. I also learned about new vegetables and I really did like it. I learned how to make a well balanced plate because our cafeteria had us chose one vegetable and one fruit with our main lunch and breakfast choice.” – Bobby Sena, 11