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Healthy Lunches Healthy Kids

By Katharine Branham

School days are upon us. And with them comes the decision of whether to opt for the school’s hot lunch or a home-packed lunchbox. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.

     Some school lunches are no healthier than a trip to the golden arches and, of course, a home-packed lunch box does not automatically mean better nutrition. I witnessed many snack type lunches during visits to a local middle school. One child’s lunch consisted of a soda, candy bar, and a bag of the unhealthiest chips available. Then I watched as another unwrapped a veggie sandwich with slices of cucumber, avocado, and Swiss cheese.  You may not always have time to make such a sandwich, but anything is better than just throwing in a Ding-Dong and some aerosol cheese with a few crackers.

     I’ve found that making lunches the night before is the best way to ensure a satisfactory midday meal. My child recently made the request to take soup with her to school during the chilly months – so I plan to make it during the preparation for Sunday’s dinner so there’s less to clean up. Another path to a healthy lunch is to check out the health food aisle at your grocery where you’ll likely find everything from a healthier version of Oreo’s to cereal bars. Remembering your children’s health is more important than convenience. Don’t hesitate to ask the schools how they prepare something or to request for a nutrition guide: You may be very surprised to what you find. 



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