Healthy School Lunches
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Most children have the option of packing a lunch or buying one at school. The good news is that a child can get a healthy lunch by doing either one. Dr. Edward Hill discusses healthy school lunches in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Buying lunch at school may be the first time your child gets to call the shots about which foods he or she will eat. School lunches have improved over the years, both in taste and nutrition.

Use school lunches as a chance to steer your child toward good choices. Explain how a nutritious lunch will give him or her the energy to finish the rest of the school day and enjoy after-school activities.

Encourage your child to choose cafeteria meals that include fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Also, avoid fried foods and choose milk or water as a drink.

Encourage your child to pack a lunch, at least occasionally. Prepackaged lunches for kids are popular and convenient, but they're also expensive and can be less than nutritious. Instead, create your own packable lunch using healthier ingredients.

In addition to old standbys, such as peanut butter and jelly, try pitas or wrap sandwiches stuffed with grilled chicken or veggies. Try soups and salads, if your child is willing, and donít forget last nightís leftovers as an easy lunchbox filler.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.