School Lunches UNCOVERED! The Real Secret to Making Kids Eat Better

While parents often have a lot of control over what their children eat while they are at home, they have little say over the school lunch their children choose that day. If your child has developed obesity but you are providing them with a healthy lifestyle at home, then chances are it’s their choices at school that are making them overweight. These choices often aren’t their fault as schools aren’t known for providing the healthiest and fittest school lunches available.

Foods Offered by Schools

There’s a reason why school lunches have such a bad rap. Not only do they tend to be less than appetizing from a taste perspective, they also tend to be highly unhealthy.

Most school lunches are appealing inexpensive, but their cheapness comes at the cost of quality. The ingredients used in school lunches tend to be very low quality canned and processed goods. Even those options that should be fresh, like salads and fruit, are often wilted and either over or under ripened. While it’s safe to assume that every school would love to serve the healthiest options available, budget concerns force them to buy the cheapest foods they can afford and only use recipes that prioritize ease of mass-production over nutritional content.

While you can talk with your child about making the healthiest choices possible when picking out their lunches at school, chances are there isn’t a single desirable option available in the cafeteria.

Vending Machine Woes

School LunchesAnd that’s assuming your child spends their lunch money on a full lunch from the cafeteria. The majority of students opt to use their dollars and quarters to purchase junk food from their school’s vending machines.

These vending machines are a huge cause of obesity in children, and if schools were serious about improving the health of their students they would remove these small temples to junk food altogether. Is it really reasonable to expect a child to make healthy options when they have money, no supervision, and access to the nutritionally barren food that they enjoy consuming? Expecting children to make the correct dietary choices on their own when they are constantly tempted by junk food is unrealistic. And when the cost of a bottle of soda is usually less than the cost of a bottle of water, it is borderline impossible for children to make the correct choices when left to their own devices.

Unfortunately, these vending machines are a reliable source of income for cash-strapped schools, which ensures junk food will have a place in the cafeteria for some time to come.

Your Best Bet – Building Healthy Habits at Home

There is no way to ensure for certain that your child will eat healthily when they are at school. You can pack them a healthy and nutritious lunch, and there’s still no absolute guarantee that they will eat it all and avoid the temptation of the cafeteria’s rampant junk food. Plenty of kids go to school with a proper meal in their bags and then spend their money at the vending machines or trade all of their food for some ice cream. While you can lecture your child all you want, you can’t stop them.

The only effective defense against the terrible food choices that schools all but force on your child is building healthy eating habits at home. Children who eat junk food all day and night with their parents will feel right at home in the cafeteria, but children who are accustomed to eating healthy and nutritious meals are far more likely to stick to proper eating habits even in the fact of temptation.

Provide your child with the right food choices when you have a say in their meals and make sure they are aware of why you have them eat the way you do. This is your best bet in helping them make good decisions when it comes to school lunches, but thankfully it is often enough.

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