We have all been there and even as a Registered dietitian I struggle with making a healthy lunch everyday for our two kids. Tufts University recently did a study on what parents send in lunchboxes and why they sent what they sent. It was interesting given all the scrutiny that school lunch has been under in the past years. Here is what I have summarized as the top 3 excuses that parents have used to pack an unhealthy lunch box:
1. My child is a picky eater.
2. I don't have time to make a healthy lunch.
3. I don't know what to pack.
So what does the study suggest
NOT do to make it a better lunch?
1. Justify Junk food by telling yourself that they have to eat something and you do not want them to starve or get dehydrated.
2. Don't stock up on "grab and go's". This makes it too easy to load up the refined foods and is an easy way to forget the healthy stuff.
3. Convince yourself that they will not eat it. If you buy it...they will (eventually) eat it.
Consider coming together with the teachers, lunch staff and other parents to encourage them to provide healthier fare. It's called Herd immunity. If everyone pitches in a little bit, eventually the kids won't see the junk food and desire it more.
For tips on how to bring a healthier atmosphere to the classroom and lunchroom Click here for a lunch box basics printable to share with your classroom and post in your kitchen.
P.S. Here is a quick pic to show you what I pack for our 9 year old son. I make sure he has a fruit and/or vegetable, something from the low-fat dairy group, whole wheat bread and whole grain crackers and a protein source (In this picture the protein comes from the milk and cheese).
Have a great school year and keep up with us on
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email me: Brandi@abcdeatright.com