Back to School: Healthy Eating

From the endless line of desserts, mesmerizing smell of French fries, and sizzling sound of burgers, school cafeterias are every child’s dream. Ordering healthy options can be a challenge for young children when they are surrounded by their favorite treats. Teach your child how to order a balanced meal before they go back to school to guarantee your child eats right all year.

Some healthy go-to food items are fresh fruit, fresh cut vegetables, grilled or baked meat, and low fat white unflavored milk. A balance meal means ½ of the plate should be fresh fruit, salad, or veggies, ¼ of the plate should be a starch, ¼ of the plate should be lean protein, and a low fat white milk or low fat yogurt should be included on the side. Cafeterias have a variety of food choices, so every balanced meal depends on the daily options.

The best way to watch what your child eats is to personally pack school lunches. This allows for portion control, monitored meals, and a variety of healthy choices. Pack a sandwich on whole grain bread, baked chips or pretzels, bottled water, small yogurt or white milk, and fresh fruit or vegetable. Personalize your child’s lunch by adding a small note to help brighten their day.

Moderation is key when eating in a cafeteria, so teach your child how to order a balanced meal. Limit your child to eating unhealthy choices only 1 to 2 times per week, and teach them to enjoy the healthy options instead. The cafeteria carries an endless variety of treats, so make sure your child picks wisely and orders a balanced meal.