If you have children in school, you probably already know the dilemma of sending them with a lunch from home, or letting them eat school lunch. You probably also know that school lunches aren’t always the healthy nutritious lunches you would like your child to eat. So, is school lunch a good idea, or should you brown bag it? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Advantages to School Lunch
Many of the public and non-private/ charter schools have become part of the National School Lunch Program which makes it possible for all school children in the United States to receive a nutritious lunch every day at school.
•As part of the National School Lunch Program or NSLP, you and your child can receive the benefits of a healthy meal. The National School Lunch Program provides children with one-third of their recommended dietary allowance for key nutrients.
•They are also required to provide no more than thirty percent of calories from fat and less than ten percent from saturated fat. Statistics have actually proven that kids who eat school lunch have a great advantage nutritionally over those who do not eat school lunch.
•By participating in the school lunch program, schools, parents, and children are given the opportunity to address such issues as obesity, healthy living, and physical activity.
•And yet another advantage to school lunch is that some schools (under Provision 2) have even been given the opportunity to provide meals for their school children for free, regardless of income.
•School lunch takes the headache off of you because it’s one less thing you have to worry about during your day.
Disadvantages to School Lunch
•On the other hand, if you are among the schools that have not decided to be part of the National School Lunch Program you have no guarantee that your child will be eating a healthy nutritious meal and therefore might be more prone to sending your child with a lunch from home.
•Another disadvantage may be that if you school does not fall under Provision 2, you most likely will have to pay for your child’s school lunch. It may not seem very much money as you pay daily, but you’d be surprised how much you end up spending by the end of the year.
Advantages to a Brown Bag Lunch
Sending your child to school with a brown bag lunch also has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s first look at some advantages:
•By sending your child to school with a brown bag lunch, you take control of what goes into their lunch, which allows you to send the nutritious snacks and meals you want. Let’s face it, not all kids will like what they’re eating for school lunch and will in fact just skip eating it all together.
•While there’s no guarantee that your child will eat what you send, there is perhaps more of a guarantee that they’ll like it and be more likely to eat it. You know your child best, and you know what they will or will not eat. Even if they don’t eat the sandwich they’ll at least snack on your healthy choices during the day.
•Sending a brown bag lunch will probably save you some money. If you’re already budgeting the foods you buy into sending a lunch with your child you will probably spend less money. Sometimes school lunch can be expensive or just extra money that you don’t want to plan for.
•Your child can help make their own lunch if you send it to school with them, which might make it more likely for them to eat.
Disadvantages of a Brown Bag Lunch
•Preparing a lunch for your child will take some extra planning time on your part. And if you have more than one child it can take some time out of your day trying to accommodate everyone’s needs. For some it can be too much of a headache to worry about.
•A major disadvantage of sending a brown bag lunch with your child is by the time they go to eat it, things are soggy or warm and then your child doesn’t want to eat it anymore. A waste of food, time, and money.
Whether or not you decide if school lunch is a good idea, or you should brown bag it is all a personal choice. Talk with your kids about what they would like to do, make sure you know how much you will paying, and weigh all your options of which will be a healthier choice.