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Treat Your Child to Nutritious School Lunches
As the oldest sister, I’m often tasked with making lunch and snacks for my brothers. So I get why parents dread the summertime food-prep hassle. Keeping the kitchen stocked to satisfy kids’ appetites takes a lot of time and thinking.
It can be tempting to trust school cafeterias to care for your child’s health. While school lunches are better than they used to be, they can still stand some improvement. Here are some suggestions for making sure your child stays healthy when school is back in session!
If you can, as much as you can, pack your child’s lunch yourself. This may seem obvious, but choosing the best ingredients and brands makes a real difference. Lunchroom food is often stored for long periods of time, highly processed and unhealthy. If you’re making snacks and lunches yourself, you can ensure that your kids are getting the nutrients they need, and avoid toxics.
Use EWG’s Food Scores database to find healthier choices. Keep in mind, less is more. The lower the number, the healthier. In-depth data will help you make informed decisions.
Parents of peanut butter-and-jelly lovers should pay special attention to the brand of peanut butter: it many contain hidden trans-fats and other unhealthy ingredients. When it comes to peanut butter, as with so many other things, the fewer ingredients the better.
Of course, every healthy lunch should be half fresh fruit and vegetables. Use EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen guides to choose fruits and vegetables less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.
Avoid processed foods where you can, and choose the healthiest option by avoiding products with long and confusing ingredient lists. Buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Find other tips for school lunch and good food ideas here.