School Lunch Choices Now May Make For Healthier Adults

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Packing your child’s school lunch can be quick and easy with all the pre-packaged food options, but what are they doing to your child’s health?

Nutritionists say that how you pack your child’s lunch could impact how healthy they are when they grow up.

Tom Ruppert understands that, and he and his three boys have made shopping for food and packing a lunch a habit.

“Generally we think the lunch we take from home is healthier,” he said.

For Ruppert’s school-aged sons — Matthew, Jack, and Timmy — PB&J sandwiches are the usual.

“Peanut butter jelly sandwich, maybe some fruit and a juice box,” said one of the boys.

Nutritionist Jamie Stang, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, said a basic rule of thumb, follow the USDA food plate.

“What you send in the lunch box really does set up what they’re gonna take for lunch later in life,” said Stang. “It should be half fruits and vegetables, the other half should be meat and carbohydrates.”

Stang said there are a few easy ways to help your kids get more nutrients.

Her advice — use whole grain or whole wheat bread or crackers, add nuts as a snack, send whole fruit instead of fruit snacks or applesauce.

The foods to stay away from are any pre-packaged snacks and lunch kits.

Stang said they’re high in sodium and low in nutrients.

If your kids like fruit flavored yogurt — like Gogurt — Stang warns it’s high in sugar. She suggests swapping it with Greek yogurt and honey.

Stang said a well-balanced meal helps with energy and concentration.

“They’re less likely to feel that mid-afternoon slump,” she said, adding that a lunch with fiber and protein will help regulate blood sugar levels and avoid the crash.

Ruppert said he and his boys have room for improvement, but they’re on the right track.

“We do some fruits and veggies, not as much as we should,” said Ruppert. “(But) we keep away from sugary foods and candy and anything like that.”

More from Holly Wagner
  • chuck in st paul

    Once again the Nanny Staters just have to tell us what we can and cannot do because they’re oh so much smarter than us. Then it turns out five or ten years later that they are proven wrong. Of course they never admit to it. They just move along to some other ‘save the world’ project that will also fall on its face leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake.

    • just sayin

      Right on.

      Kids won’t eat certain things. Sure you could feed your kid these apparently “better” more healthy foods, but not at the cost of other foods that will taste better to them.

      Kids burn off so much energy – just don’t over feed them and you won’t end up with some fat pork of a kid! Common sense!
      Most parents who are fatties end up turning their kids into fatties because they have eating problems the way it is.

    • thisisnotalie

      Or….you could be like someone i know in Champlin Mn, who owns Kids Rack. She takes annual trips to Vegas and annual cruises. Plus she drives an Escallade. But get this, her childrens nutrition is reliant on the state of Minnesota,through the school district, not because some how they qualify for “reduced” lunches, but “free” lunches!!!….it pays to know how the system works!

  • No kidding the nanny state

    You know what, some people are able to make good personal choices. It goes along with a well rounded lifestyle. Why don’t you take the articles and put them into sections on the site. One section for those on the dole, who will never make anything of themselves much less be able to choose good lunches for their kids, then the other section for those of us who do life the right way. Seriously, enough of the nanny state already. There is one fat kid in my kids entire school. Literally 1000 students and on fat one. Those parents are all doing it right. Not everybody that reads the site lives in Brooklyn Park or North Minneapolis.

  • Robert Radke

    I’m sure all of the above comments are from well educated Rightwingers. The articlle was right on the money!!

    • sad but true

      Robert, you are accurate in your statement.

      • just sayin

        Well educated is right. Good thing some people understand that. :)

  • Robert Radke


  • Pavel

    Bingo on that one, Robert!

  • FTL

    Tom Ruppert feeds his kids PB&J and then claims to stay away from “sugary foods.” Hey Tom, have you ever read the label on a jar of jelly?

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