I don’t know about you, but for me growing up, our school lunches were far from nutritious. French fries and ketchup counted as vegetable. Even tomato sauce on pizza counted as a vegetable. When a vegetable side was served, it was always mushy—what kid would consider eating veggies like that? Well, I have good news for you!
School lunches are getting healthier! So don’t totally freak out if you aren’t able to prepare your kids’ lunches from time to time. Looking at my daughters’ school menu, I see choices like turkey tacos with roasted carrot “fries,” fish sticks with seasoned broccoli, and chicken fajitas with marinated cucumbers. Not too terrible if you ask me!
Statistics back the fact that school lunches are getting healthier. A federal report released last spring showed that the nutritional profile of school meals in the United States had improved substantially since higher government standards went into effect in 2012. Nearly 80 percent of schools offered two or more vegetables per meal in 2014, the data showed, up from 62 percent in 2000. Two or more fruits were offered in about 78 percent of schools, up from 68 percent in 2000. About a third of schools now have salad bars.
Our kids need healthy lunches to perform well in school, to develop healthfully, and to conquer the obesity epidemic. School Lunch Week is sponsored by the School Nutrition Association; the theme this year is “Show your Spirit,” which reminds parents, school officials, and students that a healthy school lunch helps students power through the day! The School Nutrition Association website has a plethora of fun resources to help make this week effective and celebratory. Click here to check them out!