As the new school year approaches it’s important to be aware of what your child is eating, even while at school.
Keeping them full and hydrated because a child’s diet contributes to their learning habits, according to the CDC.
Jenny Odland says it’s not always easy getting her daughter to eat a healthy lunch.
“My daughter is picky so she likes to pack school lunch, or sometimes a hot meal,” Odland said.
She says though it’s tough to get her daughter to eat healthy, it’s worth the fight.
Registered dietitian Lizzie Kasparek says prepping a lunch ahead of time can make it easier to choose healthy items.
“Letting kids maybe having some decisions on what they want. So OK, you can either have pasta or a wrap, which one do you want? And then fruits you have two different options, and then vegetables, same thing,” Kasparek said.
It’s not just healthy food in your child’s lunch box that you should be worried about, it’s also the temperature.
Kasparek says when foods aren’t at the right temperature bacteria beings to multiply, and sitting in the locker at room temperature begins to make food unsafe.
“Meats and yogurts and cheeses, and things like that where it really does need to stay cold… having a cooler box or an insulated lunch box with some kind of cold pack is going to be essential. So keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot,” Kasparek said.
Odland said you may have a harder time convincing to eat healthy meals, but Kasparek says keep in mind it can take trying something 10 to 15 times before they like it.
“Maybe a kid tries something for the first time and they say, I don’t like hummus. Maybe you try those beans in a different way or you’re introducing it in different ways. So maybe we’re not just having carrots with hummus, maybe we put it on a sandwich, maybe they do like it that way,” Kasparek said.
Lastly Kasparek says don’t forget to take a look at your child’s lunch box after school, to be sure they’re eating what you packed.
Kasparek says whether your child is eating school lunch or packing their own, it’s important to include the five major food groups.