Are you really giving your kids the healthiest school lunches they could have? Unfortunately, those patented brown-bag lunches we pack for our children could be considerably less nutritious than we realize, indicated a recent study found in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The research found that home-packed lunches typically didn’t meet the health criteria of the National School Lunch Program, an organization that requires school lunches to include servings from the five primary food groups: vegetables, fruit, protein, grain, and dairy.
But after researchers investigated the sack lunches of more than 600 third and fourth graders, they realized that not one of them held servings from each of the food groups!
Actually, just 27 percent of the sack lunches held at least three of the food groups. The average lunch consisted of a sandwich, water, and chips. Sugar-filled beverages were also a very common beverage found in these lunches. Milk (a great calcium source) was absent from most lunches, too; while the reason could partially be lactose intolerance, milk nevertheless appeared to be an unpopular beverage decision.
Check out some awesome food and drink replacements that belong in your kids’ sack lunches below:
Kale chips that are baked serve as a great substitute for those wet, greased-out potato chips. That’s because kale is both a calcium-rich food and an excellent source of numerous other nutrients, including iron, vitamin A, and potassium.
Consuming one navel orange gives your child’s body 74 milligrams of calcium, or seven percent of his/her recommended daily value. Plus, oranges are revered for their vitamin C!
Almonds?! ALMONDS!? That’s just nuts. But it’s true: even one cup of almonds holds 243 milligrams of calcium– or what’s found in one serving of whole milk. And there’s more: you’ll be providing your children with 61 percent of their recommended daily serving of magnesium, too!
These seeds aren’t just for the ball game anymore. Just one cup of these cute little guys carries 109 milligrams of calcium. They carry your kid past lunchtime, and they’re filling because they’re stuffed with fiber (a solid 12 grams of it).
Yes– we had to go there. Seriously, though: just one serving of this cruciferous veggie carries roughly 70 milligrams of calcium(!) and doubles your kids’ daily value of vitamin C!
Now that’s a school lunch worth writing home about!
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