A healthy school diet

What sort of things should your kids be eating when you send them off to school? A Lincoln dietitian has some pointers.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The best way to help growing bodies and minds when you send them off to school is to be sure they’re getting good food. One of the best ways to do that, according to dietitian Andrea Laughlin from Sage Nutrition in Lincoln, is to ensure they’re getting a healthy variety of food.

“Carbohydrates, protein, some fats from foods, and of course some foods that they really enjoy. Just a nice balance of everything”, says Laughlin. Striking that balance starts with a conversation. Your kids will appreciate being included, and getting to help choose what’s on the menu will likely lead them to clean their plate.

As the parent, you have the final authority on what’s good and what’s junk, which means you have the choice between packing lunch and trusting the school. Those school lunches aren’t quite as bad as they used to be, though. They aren’t necessarily good, but unhealthy, food. They’re also not healthy, but bland. Laughlin says schools have been avoiding labelling items “as ‘healthy food’ versus ‘unhealthy food’, but more so just food that might give them energy and nutrients.” She adds, “I think there’s been lots of improvement with that in schools.”

Regardless of the lunch choice, breakfast is where things really start. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s a good idea to make time for the first meal of the day. Once again, Laughlin has some suggestions on how to make things a bit easier: “Set aside some time to do just some toast and then try to get creative about putting some different toppings on it, like different nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter. Maybe putting some fruit of choice on the side or on top of it.”

You’ll still want to follow through in the evening, which could be tricky. You might have a late night at work, and sometimes the kids have after school activities planned. That’s why you can get ahead of the game and meal plan for the week ahead and be ready for those curveballs.

Categories: Health, News