Ensuring A School Year Filled With Healthy Lunches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the first day back at school for many children, and that means they’re out of parents’ sight for lunchtime.

Whether you pack a lunch or do hot lunch, it can be tricky to make sure you child is eating properly at school. How do you know if they are throwing things away, or maybe doing some trading?

Jessica Graumann, a registered dietitian from Fairview Clinics, said it’s normal for parents to worry about school lunchtime. The key is to get kids involved in the planning process.

Whether or not they are picky eaters, take your kids to the grocery store with you and have them help choose what they would want to eat. Let them choose what fruit they want or what they would like in their sandwich.

Once you’re back at home, have them help pack the lunch so they can look forward to what’s in their lunch bag.

Graumann also offered some ways to make lunches fun for kids — “cutting them into shapes with cookie cutters, a smiley face with foods, fruit and veggies kabobs, things that kids will think are fun.”

When packing a lunch, follow a newer nutrition guideline called the “plate guide.” Think of the plate in four parts. It should be half fruits and veggies, with the other half comprised of protein and grains. And don’t forget a serving of dairy.

Parents should also watch for how hungry their children are after school, because that can be a tip-off that their kids aren’t eating the way they should be. It’s normal to want to eat, but if they are overeating or binging, that’s a sign they aren’t eating well enough at school.

From there, have a conversation with your child asking them about why they are so hungry.

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