Most school children eat more than half of their daily meal during school time. A great number of these children depend on the food they are served in schools as not just the main meal of the day but it is the only food they get on a regular basis. Many countries across the world from USA to Japan are focusing on renewed school breakfast and lunch programs by incorporating healthy eating habits with a view of addressing the widespread problem of obesity among school kids. These programs now have new caps on the number of calories per student food tray. This is accomplished in different ways like to include more vegetables, fruits and making the portions smaller. In Wisconsin, USA the attempt to cut down on the portions made the kids so unhappy they decided to boycott the school lunches altogether.
School meals addressing many health concerns
Despite the scorn from kids every effort made on a national level to improve child nutrition through healthy school meals are making their benefits felt. In the USA this is very evident in some of the states with high obesity rates among children including Mississippi, California, Los Angeles and San Francisco. All states effectively arrange for school children to be served with low calorie, high nutrient food and totally eliminated serving sugar sweetened beverages, especially in high schools.
If your child is suffering from obesity signs then it is high time to consider the food choices he or she has been making. Whether you are preparing a meal for school or the child is taking meals at the school cafeteria, it is imperative that you ensure they eat a balanced meal. Most parents are concerned about the food choices their kids make at home. In most cases they feel that what their children eat in school are beyond their control. However, as parents it is your duty to influence the food choices of your children and to guide them towards healthy eating habits both in and out of home.
What goes in to healthy school meals?
Most schools provide a healthy meal during lunch time for school children. Unfortunately these same schools have cafeterias providing calorie packed snack bars. A la carte menus are stuffed with tempting offers of french fries, chips, pizza, donuts and there are vending machines with sugar coated snacks, sodas and ices. If your child is among the National School Lunch Program which offers a ‘low cost free lunch’ with balanced nutrition it is your right to investigate the contents of these meals. According to a Physicians Committee of the medicine and a healthy school lunch campaign, some schools are still providing meals packed with loads of saturated fat and cholesterol.
As a rule of thumb a healthy school meal includes items rich in fiber and nutrients like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. However, bearing in mind that these meals are intended for age groups that make very picky food choices the final presentation should be appetizing enough to nudge the kids in eating healthy and balanced meals during their school hours. A great number of schools that are successful in walking this tightrope situation have accomplished the goal of making school days healthier and happier for their children.