Did you know today starts National School Lunch Week? It runs from today through October 19th! It all started in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy in order to celebrate the school lunch programs in America. This week recognizes the importance of healthy school lunch in a child’s life.
Every year, the National School Lunch Week has a theme. This year it’s “School Lunch: Lots 2 Love.” They want schools with successful school lunch programs to share their secrets with other schools and districts. Its’ goals are to promote healthy menus, increase lunch participation, and raise awareness with parents, administrators, and media about the importance of school meals.
School Lunch Basics
Did you know that nearly 30 million students are served healthy lunches every school day. Every lunch has servings of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. There are specific nutritional standards schools must adhere to in order to be considered “healthy” and compliant. These include:
- Including more fruits and vegetables: ¾ cup of vegetables and/or ½ cup of fruit
- Low Fat Milk: 1 cup of 1% or fat-free milk
- Whole grain rich foods (at least 51% whole grain)
- Lean proteins (chicken, turkey, beans/legumes)
- Low in sodium
- Limits on unhealthyfats
- Free water
Time to Get Involved
Are you wondering how you can get involved? Parents and children should go over lunch menus together and discuss healthy eating. This will model good eating habits from home. If kids grow the habit of eating healthy at home, they are more likely to choose healthy options at school.
You can also have your child(ren) describe their favorite school menu item and have them explain their choice. You can also take a photo of your child’s lunch for the day and put it on Instagram with the hashtag #NSLW18.
Another way to celebrate this week with your child is to participate in National Bring Your Parents to Lunch Day, which is on October 17th. On this day, you can visit your child during lunch and see the healthy meals they eat at school. This can give you the chance to see what is really being served in school. It’s wonderful to participate in a program that was created to keep our children healthy.
Meals to Keep in Rotation
Now, before we wrap this up, here are 3 meals you can keep in the back of your mind that are kid-approved!
- Whole grain tortilla wrap with lean deli meat, low-fat cheese, lettuce and tomatoes; apple; air-popped popcorn
- Grilled chicken (or any leftover protein from the night before) with brown rice and peas; pear; pretzels
- Homemade chili with ground turkey and mixed with vegetables; peach; whole grain tortilla chips
Remember, the most important thing this week is to get your child involved and have fun when making their lunches! This way they will learn about healthy eating and expand what they like.
Your Turn to Take Action:How will you celebrate National School Lunch Week with your child(ren)? Let me know your thoughts about your child’s school lunch.