The Importance of a Healthy Lunch
Finding a healthy choice in a school cafeteria can be quite a stressful task for an overweight child in Jacksonville. Recently, there has been a great deal of media attention regarding the use of “pink slime” in school cafeterias. Pink slime is the slang name for ground beef that is treated with ammonia, and many children (and drive-thru frequenters) are consuming this type of meat on a regular basis without fully realizing what they are ingesting.
All of this talk about pink slime and unhealthy school lunches brings one thing forward—the importance of a healthy lunch. When your child is at school they are at a high stress level. They are interacting with their peers, dealing with pressure from their friends and trying to keep up with their school work. With all of these stressors circulating around them, it is no wonder why children often do not put much thought into what they are eating for lunch at school, but as concerned parents and physicians it is important to do exactly that.
There are a number of options that you can consider to ensure that your child is eating a healthy lunch every day. The first option may be the healthiest. Instead of sending your child into the cafeteria to make a game-time decision of what to eat, pack a lunch the night before that meets all of the nutritional aspects their meal plan calls for. By packing your child a lunch filled with their favorite nutritious snacks you can rest assured that she is eating right and save her the trouble of standing in line for her food.
If packing a lunch doesn’t seem to be a good option, then ask your child’s school for the menu of what is going to be served. Most schools have lunch menus prepared at least a month ahead of time. At certain schools there are the same options available every day—most of them being fried or filled with sugar. Obtain a copy of the school menu and sit down with your child and discuss the nutritional quality of every option. By understanding what is best for them and why other options are not, your child may be more inclined to eat healthier during the school day.