What Are Your Kids Having for Lunch?
How to help your children eat healthy at school
Even if you pack the most delicious lunch imaginable, it's not likely you'll
be able to keep your children away from the vending machines 100% of the
Not to worry, says McAllister -- as long as your children don't eat the
snacks instead of a healthy lunch, and as long as they don't overdo it.
"As long as most of your child's lunches are healthy, an occasional
soda, bag of chips, or candy bar is not a problem," she says.
Not all vending-machine choices are bad, either. The Center for Science in
the Public Interest notes that some of the best ones include unsweetened
applesauce cups and fruit cups, cereal mix, low-fat milk, granola bars, dried
fruit, bottled water, and 100% juice
So just how do you get your kids to make these kinds of choices? That's
where educating them about good nutrition at home -- and, especially, modeling
healthy eating behaviors -- comes in. "Parents should eat healthy meals
themselves," says Charles Shubin, MD, director of pediatrics at Mercy
FamilyCare in Baltimore and an associate professor of pediatrics at the
University of Maryland. "They have to set the example."
Christine Gerbstadt, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic
Association, couldn't agree more.
"Kids need the support of both their family and their school to make
sound nutritional choices," she says.