Helping Your Children Choose Healthy School Lunches

Mandy Scherer
Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (901) 227-3527
Pager: (901) 227-7243 #3176
Ayoka Pond
Public Relations Manager
Phone: 901-227-3503
Cell: 901-581-5637

Lunch is especially important for school kids because it provides the energy needed to help them continue learning throughout the day. Whether children bring lunch from home or get lunch from the school cafeteria, being aware of the nutritional choices they make is important.

“A school lunch should provide about one-third of a child’s calories, vitamins and minerals for the day,” said Amanda Williams, a clinical dietitian at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. “To make the job of choosing the right foods easier, parents can follow recommendations on the Food Guide Pyramid.”

Often, children choose foods rich in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains from school lunch menus. However, there are usually healthy choices available, so it is important to talk to your children about choosing nutritious items that add to a healthy, balanced diet.

“Many parents feel they have a hard enough time getting their kids to eat well at home and assume they have no control over what kids eat at school,” Williams said. “But if parents are aware of the choices their kids have, they may be able to influence what their kids eat.”

If you choose to pack a school lunch for your children, it should be something fast, fun and nutritious. Children need a variety of foods to be healthy and to prevent monotony. Involving children in the choosing and preparing of their lunch gives them a say in what they take for lunch, and it increases the chance that they will eat the lunch you send.

Asking children about their lunch when they get home may be the best way to help them make nutritious choices in the future. Find out what they ate, what they liked and didn’t like, and if they finished their lunch or not. You may even review the school’s lunch menu ahead of time with your children and let them decide which days they prefer to bring a lunch from home.

With a little planning and feedback from your children, you can pack a school lunch that they will enjoy and one that will contribute to good health. For more information on healthy eating habits for children, please visit or


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