With the trip back to school, comes a special issue for parents to fret about: lunchtime. It is vitally important for parents to know what their children are eating and drinking throughout the day, as nutrition plays a vital role in how well a student is situated for learning. Hunger and a lack of energy will set your kids up for failure from the get-go.
School lunches are notoriously bad--not necessarily nutritionally (though it really depends on where your child attends, truth to tell), but from a taste and desirability perspective… Well, let’s just say they have a reputation. Here are a few steps you can take to make certain that your child is not going hungry during the school day.
● Check the menu. You can usually find a copy of a school’s lunch menu on its website. Do a little research, and find out what options are being served to your children. If you see a day where you know the options are not to their liking (or to yours), plan to send a lunch.
● Have a chat. Talk to your child about the menu at school. See if there is something you can do together to plan out their meals. Packing a lunch or making a snack to have at some point during the day is a great family activity.
● Build a meal plan. This goes along with the last two, and it is an excellent habit to instill in your kids early. Having to decide on the spot about a lunch to pack or finding out that lunch being served to you is unacceptable adds undue stress and the temptation to impulse snack. Plan ahead, and you can save time, money, and irritation.
● Have a list. A lot like planning a shopping list in reverse, building a set of balanced meals requires a bit of consideration. You know you want your children to have fruits and vegetables, some protein, good drinks, healthy snacks, etc. Learn if there are items banned from the school campus (some places have strict rules regarding things like peanuts, which can cause serious allergic reactions).
At the end of the day, a little communication will go a long way. Include your child in planning their meals, and you will have a better understanding of what they are taking into their bodies day by day. Make sure they understand the health benefits of eating well. You don’t want them going hungry because nothing looks good or trashing their bodies with junk food in place of healthy, balanced meals.
The Children’s Clinic is a professional association of pediatricians that have been providing the people of Tennessee with quality care for decades. Our highly qualified staff offers compassionate, personalized care from birth through the teenage years. Our office is located at 264 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN. You can reach us by calling 731-423-1500 or via our website, www.thechildrensclinicpa.com.