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Advice Column: Kids and School Lunch

By Noor H. Salem, TMO


Question: It’s back to school season and I’m facing difficulties convincing my children to eat healthy. I can’t control what they eat during lunch at school.


hotdogI completely agree with you in terms of it being difficult educating kids on the importance of eating right. When I look at billboards, TV commercials, and advertisements all around us, all I see are children representing corporate food. Multi-million dollar corporations are using smiling images of kids to advertise for their processed junk. Suddenly if you buy your child a Happy Meal, they’re going to be happy, energized, and smart. No, in fact, they will feel sluggish, be lazy, and become prone to sickness. It’s not worth it. If your child really wants chicken nuggets, make them yourself at home and don’t cause them to feel deprived.

It’s no surprise that children are going against mainstream society if they choose to eat healthy. Packing fruit for snack time instead of a Pop-Tart may cause all eyes to go on your child. Suddenly they’re odd for not packing cheese crackers, sugary snack bars, and salty fried processed food. But it’s okay, and that’s your job to explain. Teach your child the importance of eating healthy and the long term effects it can have on their health. Make it fun though, and allow them to go shopping with you. Let your child make homemade healthy grain pancakes for breakfast, topped with fruit or honey. Or perhaps a fresh fruit smoothie with peanut butter for a protein packed snack.

You may actually have complete control on what your child eats at lunch by having them help you pack their own. Sandwiches, a side of fresh vegetables or fruit, and a water bottle is easy to make, and great to eat. Make extra servings of dinner and pack tuber wares the night before- it won’t take more than five minutes. Bake homemade bars and cookies without a chockfull of ingredients. Your child can have their treat, and not feel deprived. Let your child pick what they want, as long as it’s not hot dogs they are asking for. Allowing kids in the kitchen during meal preparation time is a wise idea. They begin to think of how food is made, and perhaps question the processed food in the lunch line.


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