We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but lunch is not far behind. After a healthy lunch, kids have better concentration and performance. With our lunch box tips and new school cafeteria nutrition standards, it’s easy to ensure your child’s lunch is delicious and satisfies their growing body’s needs.
In the Cafeteria: USDA revamps school nutrition standards
In an effort to lower childhood obesity rates - which have been climbing rapidly over the past three decades - the Obama Administration is raising the bar on school nutrition.
With the help of First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed a new set of regulations for school meals on January 25, 2012. This marked marking the first overhaul of these standards in more than 15 years.
As a complement to the new rules, the government is also expanding funding for schools which meet its nutrition requirements for the first time in 30 years.
Under these rules, cafeterias will now offer double the amount of fruits and vegetables, increase whole grain options, and reduce the amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Gone is whole milk, to be replaced by skim and 1 percent. Portion sizes will be based on children's age groups, so that they are not consuming too many or too few calories. For more information visit http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/01/in-an-effort-to-lower/
In the Lunch Box: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
Pack a nutritious lunch with the help of ChooseMyPlate.gov. Include at least one fruit, one vegetable and a grain, some protein and a dairy product to help your kids get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Here are some examples of healthy options from each food group:
- Fruits: apple, banana, orange, grapes, dried fruits or 100% fruit juice
- Vegetables: baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, a mini salad with low fat dressing.
- Grains: whole grain breads, pita, tortillas, crackers, or low fat cereal bars.
- Protein: peanut butter, nuts, bean dip or low-fat reduced sodium turkey or ham.
- Dairy: low fat versions of yogurt, milk, string cheese or cottage cheese.
If you pack hot soup, keep it hot in an insulated thermos. Use cold packs to keep cold foods cold or freeze juice boxes the night before.
For more information on keeping your family clean, safe, and healthy, visit http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/FCS/healthyhomes.shtml