If you haven’t heard about school meals the last year and half; I might think that you have been living under a rock! There has been much discussion over meals that are served at schools for our youth; so let’s clear up some of the confusion! The Iowa Department of Education has developed a ton of great resources to alleviate any confusion about what is being served in schools.
School lunches are providing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat/fat-free milk; it is up to the children to take all of the options, eat them and remain full throughout the remainder of the day. The new and improved school lunches are providing around one-third of a child’s caloric needs for a day.
So do some kid’s turn their noses up at the new foods offered at lunch? Sure do! But more than likely, it is because they haven’t tried or seen the food before; so let’s educate them on what this new food is and why it is healthy for them. School lunches are offering more whole grain choices, daily choices of fruits and vegetables, larger portions of fruits and vegetables, morebeans/peas (legumes), more dark green and red/orange vegetables and less sodium and fat. Sounds like a pretty good swap out to me!
What can you do? Go see the improvements to school lunches firsthand! October 14-18 is National School Lunch Week, ask your son/daughter, niece/nephew, grandchild, etc. if you can come eat lunch with them one day this week!
Parents can also use the MyPlate guidelines to pack afternoon snacks or for grab and go snacks to have on hand in the refrigerator or pantry. Use snacks and meal times at home to explore new foods. This will allow your kids to be comfortable trying new foods and encourage them to try foods at school that they may not be familiar with yet.
For more information, please visit the Iowa Department of Education.