There is a lot of attention on the nutritional quality of school lunches, but what about lunches and snacks that are brought from home?
A new study looked at the lunches and snacks of over 600 elementary school kids in Eastern Massachusetts to find out what exactly is being packed in kids’ lunches.
Here’s what they found (the % indicate what percent of kids’ lunches had these items):
The foods and beverages that were in the kids’ lunches most often were:
• Sandwiches (59%)
• Snack foods, like chips, pretzels, crackers and trail mix (42%)
• Fruit (34%)
• Desserts, like cookies, candy, baked goods and pudding (28%)
• Water (28%)
• Sugar-sweetened beverages, like fruit punch, sports drinks, sweetened ice tea and lemonade (24%)
And at snack time:
• Snack foods, like chips, pretzels, crackers and trail mix (62%)
• Desserts, like cookies, candy, baked goods and pudding (35%)
• Sugar-sweetened beverages, like fruit punch, sports drinks, sweetened ice tea and lemonade (35%)
• Fruits (30%)
• Dairy foods (10%)
• Vegetables (3%)
So, now I ask you, what is missing from most of these lunches and snacks?
Did you answer VEGETABLES? Ding, ding, ding – you are correct! Not to mention, fruit could stand to be in the lunches a bit more frequently. And let’s not forget low-fat dairy foods. Remember that most kids (and adults) aren’t meeting the recommendations for calcium and vitamin D intake.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting lots of ideas on how to pack healthier lunches from home. Stay tuned….and in the meantime, please share your healthy favorites!