You may spend hours preparing the perfect take-from-home school lunch for your kids, but do they actually bother to eat it? Or if you simply hand them some cash on their way out the door, do you know what foods they ultimately purchase? Well, two new studies about school lunches are proving that the meals you prepare for your kids are all wrong, and that kids rarely ever choose the healthy option from the cafeteria.
Hear that, Mom and Dad?
When researchers at Virginia Tech surveyed the lunches of 1,300 preschoolers and kindergartners, they found that packed lunches were filled with some not-so-healthy varieties. These lunches had a higher intake of calories, fat, and saturated fat (along with vitamin C and iron, so there’s a plus side), while school lunches had higher intakes of protein, calcium, vitamin A, and sodium.
And it’s all because of the easy choices parents make. Yes, it’s simple to throw in a bag of chips, some sweets, and a sugar-filled drink. But those calories and fats add up. And they’re actually banned by the National School Lunch Program.
If you thought the packed lunch option was healthier, it’s time to reevaluate. Yes, you know exactly what your kid will consume during the day, but as the research shows, that’s not always a good thing.