Many parents are suffering from brown bag burnout by this time of year. You may have spent the last several months trying to dream up a sufficiently varied and nutritious lunches for your children to take to school, or your own taste buds may simply be stuck in a rut. Yet by taking the time to properly nourish ourselves with a wide assortment of foods and to enjoy the pleasures of preparing our own “take-out” food, we return food to its rightful role as an important factor in both health and culture.
In addition, some parents may realize on the surface the benefits of nutritious lunches for their child, but many do not realize the long lasting effects eating a healthy lunch can have. The effects of good nutrition (or bad) can be life long on both a child’s health and their ability to learn. While it may seem like too big of a hassle (or a fight with your child) to send a nutritious brown bag lunch, the payoff can be much more significant than you may realize. Here are just some of the benefits of nutritious brown bag lunches-
•Better overall health. Children who have good nutritional habits have better overall health. Multiple studies have shown that children who have healthy eating habits from a young age have better health throughout their lifetime. Good nutrition has been shown to reduce the risk the heart disease, cancer and stroke. By cultivating these healthy eating habits young those with good nutrition throughout their lifetime will benefit from better health. Since any lunch should make up about 1/3 of daily intake having a nutritious brown bag lunch can improve a child’s health by at least that much.
•Less chance at obesity. Obesity has become a national epidemic among even among the youngest of students. Eating a nutritious brown bag lunch can help lessen the chance a child becoming obese and thereby lessen the chances of the accompanying medical problems that the obese often have. Some types of diabetes, heart disease, bone and other problems can be directly traced to obesity. In addition children who are obese often face severe peer problems at school and are often the victims of teasing and bullying. Eating a nutritious brown bag lunch can serve as a cornerstone to good overall nutrition that helps reduce the chance of all of these types of problems.
•Better learning at school. Children who eat a nutritious brown bag lunch have shown that they are better learners. They are able to pay attention better in school and absorb the needed information. Children who do not get the proper nutrition during lunchtime often have difficulty paying attention and thereby cannot learn adequately. In addition children who have poor nutrition are often absent from school which also impedes the learning process. Just eating is not enough as children who load up on sugar and processed food during lunch often experience a crash in blood sugar mid-afternoon which can also slow down the learning process. Having your child eat a nutritious brown bag lunch can help them succeed academically.
•Better overall diet. Children who eat nutritious brown bag lunches from their earliest years in school are much more likely to make good diet and eating choices throughout their lives. They will view food in a healthier way and be less likely to engage in poor dieting choices. Some of these choices can be extreme dieting, eating disorders and body image problems. Having a good foundation in nutritious eating can help prevent many of these problems that are now surfacing even in the youngest elementary school age children and pre teens.