All this week, students are heading back to the classroom.
It’s important students eat a healthy lunch during the school day.
While a local dietitian says school lunch menus typically offer a good variety, some kids may instead bring a packed lunch.
Anelis Coscioni is getting ready to send her daughter Anita back to school. She’s already learned a handy skill ahead of the start of classes.
“First, I was packing and then I was like, ‘Well, you are old enough,’ so she packs her own lunch. Sometimes she has school lunch,” Mother Anelis Coscioni said.
The 7-year-old packs her lunch about 50 percent of the time and she always makes a point to include healthy options.
If you plan on sending your child to school with a lunchbox, you should make sure you’re including the same items you’d find on your dinner plate.
That of course includes fruits and vegetables, plus:
“Some kind of whole grain whether that’s whole grain bread or pasta or rice. Some kind of protein whether that’s dairy, meat or cheese, eggs,” Sanford Sports Science Dietitian Lizzie Kasparek said.
A well-balanced meal at school can make a difference for a student’s performance.
“Imagine if you had an OK breakfast, skipped lunch, and didn’t have a snack. Now, it’s 5 pm. How would you feel if you were at work all day? Pretty terrible. These kids are really active; they’re using their brains all day; and they need the fuel to be able to be successful in school, be successful or sports or whatever afterschool activities they’re doing,” Kasparek said.
That’s why Anelis wants her daughter to have a nutritious lunch, whether it’s on a lunch tray or in a lunch box.
“She’s going to learn better and she’s not full of sugar. She’s going to be able to concentrate. She’s going to have a better day,” Coscioni said.
Kasparek says packed lunches should also include a good source of hydration and it’s OK to include a treat from time to time.