School supplies are taking over the local shopping stores, back to school sales are in full swing and meet the teacher nights are ensuing. The lazy days of summer are almost over and morning alarms are being set. Back to school is right around the corner and the busy days of school are almost upon us. If you are a parent, you know there is a certain relief to having that school schedule. No more, “I’m bored mom”. But, you also know that with school comes late nights of homework, fall sports, school carnivals, book fairs, conferences, assemblies, and all of the fun school activities that our children are involved in. And, you also know that with school, comes planning and making lunch!
Creative Lunch Ideas
Many of you enjoy making lunch. Creative ideas are filling your head and that is great! But as the year continues, creativity can be tough and time is at a minimum. We are busy! Making nutritious and creative lunches every night can be daunting and isn’t for everyone. But, there is a time-saving solution… school lunch! It’s healthier than you think and can be a respite during the busy schools days. Here is what you may not know about school lunch:
- School lunch is a Federally-regulated program and must meet stringent nutrition regulations.
- School lunch is economical. The National School Lunch Program provides free, or low-cost meals to our Nation’s kids. But, just because they are free or low cost does not mean that they are unhealthy!
- School menu planners must plan menus to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This includes sodium and fat limits, whole grains, fiber and nutrient requirements. Recent meal pattern changes require schools to serve bright red/orange and dark green vegetables as well as beans and legumes weekly. These requirements decrease the option of processed food and drive school menu planners to serve fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful salad bars and innovative and delicious, kid-friendly recipes!
- School Food Service Professionals are educated and dedicated to their career and to serving nutritious food that appeals both to kids and to parents. They are required to partake in professional development annually to improve and advance their knowledge in Child Nutrition.
- Widely used and advanced menu planning software allows Food and Nutrition Professionals to analyze and plan meals to meet the nutrition guidelines. They can also provide valuable ingredient information to menu planners and to parents who have children with strict nutrition requirements and/or food allergies.
So, if you find that you need a break this school year but still want your child to eat nutritious meals, give school lunch a try! You may even want to visit your child’s school to sample the meals for yourself. Most school lunches are an economical, nutritious and time-saving option. School lunch can come to the rescue for you!