When we skip lunch, we are more likely to have trouble concentrating and we often experience a “crash” in our day due to a lack of energy. With school starting just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about what your children will be eating during the school year so that they do not experience theses “crashes” while in class or their after school programs. We often hear a lot about the importance of starting off each day with a nutrtious breakfast to boost our metabolism and get our body fueled so we’re ready to tackle the day. While breakfast is indeed essential for our health, lunch is also very important, but unfortunately is not discussed quite as frequently. Similar to the roles that breakfast plays, lunch is also known to have an important role in children’s overall health and school performance. When students do not consume a nutritious lunch, they tend to lack energy required for success in after school sports and activities and are more likely to grab less nutritious snacks or overeat later on in the day.
If your child prefers to buy his/her lunch at school, make an effort to look at the meal schedule at the beginning of each week to make sure there is something nutritious available that your child likes. Although school lunches are often thought of as non-nutritious, students who eat them are actually more likely to consume milk, meats, grains and vegetables.
If your child prefers to pack his/her lunch, be sure to make sure your child is packing a well-balanced meal. There should be a source of protein, grain, at least one fruit or vegetable, dairy product and an occasional sweet, if desired. It is important to allow your child to have a say in what goes into his/her lunch. If it helps, record a list of foods that your child likes in each food category that way the lunches can be varied throughout the week and you’ll be sure that everything in the lunch will be eaten and not brought back home.