What Are the Benefits of Healthy Lunches at School?

What Are the Benefits of Healthy Lunches at School?

As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Children Act in 2010, the National School Lunch Benefits Program policy is to better guarantee that children receive a nutritious lunch.

The changes ensure that schools offer fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, low-fat and calorie-restricting dairy products, saturated fats, and sodium. As a parent, you can follow these same guidelines if you pack your child's lunch and track its nutritional value in a calorie counter app.

A healthy school lunch provides good nutrition to build healthy habits for life and the energy a child needs for the rest of his busy day.

What Are the Benefits of Healthy Lunches at School?

1. Provides Main Nutrients

It is very important for your child to have a healthy lunch since lunch provides a third of his daily calories. You want to count those calories by offering nutrient-dense foods.

Children who eat healthy lunches have a higher nutritional intake not only for lunch but also throughout the day — than children who don't — according to the website, Fuel Up to Play 60.

If your child's school gets federal reimbursement for school lunch, rest assured that his or her lunch provides a third of his or her daily needs for protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, which are essential nutrients that are often less than a child's diet.

2. Limit Fat Intake

The American Heart Association recommends children get no more than 25 to 35 percent of their calories from fat, with most of the fat coming from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Think of nuts, fish, and vegetable oil as opposed to pizza, cake, and cake. This is enough to support normal growth and development and to meet your child's energy needs while supporting heart health—for now and in the future.

A healthy school lunch limits fat to less than 30 percent and saturated fat to less than 10 percent of all calories during the week.

3. Prevents Obesity

Dr. Dan Taber, a researcher for the research program, Bridging the Gap, told the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that providing healthy food to children in schools is a key step in lowering childhood obesity rates.

School menus or meals from home that are high in saturated fat can lead to obesity and related health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Healthy options, such as high-fiber foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, will keep your child full and keep him full longer. It can prevent unwanted weight gain and chronic health conditions.

4. Increase Energy and Value

When children do not eat a healthy lunch, it is more difficult for them to concentrate at school and accumulate energy for after-school activities. They are also more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks in the afternoon.

By offering a healthy school lunch, the child will get the energy the body needs to get through the afternoon. A study published in 2008 in the "Journal of School Health" examined the eating habits of nearly 5,000 schoolchildren.

Children who ate more fruits, vegetables, and protein and fewer calories from fat, performed better on literacy tests than children with high-fat, high-salt diets.

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