If you are the parent of a school-age child you may want them to eat a healthy lunch but you may be wondering if it is worth the trouble. With the ease of purchasing a school lunch or other choices packing, a brown bag lunch for your child may not seem worth the hassle. But everything indicates that it can be crucial for your child to be eating a healthy lunch during the school day. Some school lunches that are offered contain little more than overly processed and minimally healthy food. In addition leaving your child to choose other options (vending machines or outside of school) may lead to nothing more than a lunch made up of nutritionally empty calories. To combat this problem many parents are now sending a brown bag lunch to school hoping to up the nutrition in their child’s diet. If you are one of those parents or are considering switching your child to a take-home lunch take heart because here are the reasons why it is important that your child eats a healthy lunch-
•Children’s bodies are in a constant state of growing. Your child’s body is requiring a steady stream of nutrients and calories to keep growing. Kids who have a nutritious diet grow more and reach their physical potential. Lunch should make up 1/3 of the calories and nutrients that they require. By having your child eat a nutritious and healthy lunch you are insuring a better physical growth outcome for them.
•Children who eat a nutritious lunch have better overall health. In addition to helping children grow a nutritious lunch can also contribute to better health. Studies show that kids with a healthy diet (this includes lunch) are sick less often and when they are sick they recover quicker. It also has been shown that good nutrition not only improves overall health during childhood but better health during childhood leads to better health as an adult. By having your child start early on eating nutritiously you can be giving them a lifelong gift.
•Children who eat nutritiously tend to have less body image problems. This would include eating a healthier lunch as well. Children who know the proper role of food in their lives tend to not use food as coping or control mechanisms. This leads to significant reduction in risk of contracting an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
•Children who eat a nutritious lunch have less chance of becoming obese. Obesity among children has reached nearly epidemic proportions. Kids who eat nutritiously at lunch also tend to have better nutrition during their other meals lessening the chance of becoming obese. With the reduction in obesity also comes the reduction in the possibility of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other major medical problems.
•Children who eat a nutritious lunch will learn in school better. Children who have a nutritious diet and most importantly eat a nutritious lunch are found to be better learners in school. Those children who fill up on sugary snacks or worse yet skip lunch are often tired and disinterested in school by early afternoon. Teachers report that the best learners in school are those students who can maintain a steady blood sugar level from having eaten a nutritious lunch. Early academic success is often a predictor of overall educational success. Having your child eat a nutritious lunch can provide them with a significant tool to gaining an education and later success in life. In addition children who have healthier diets tend to be healthier missing less school and enabling them to gain a better education.