Packed lunches typically fail health grade

Published On: Sep 01 2014 02:53:45 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 02 2014 07:40:00 AM EDT

A recent study found the lunches most kids bring to school are not meeting the recommended dietary guidelines. They're often missing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy items.

"A lot of these kids are bringing more snack-type foods. They're bringing sugar-sweetened beverages. Most of them don't even have an entrée in there, so they're just really piecing parts together. A lot of the processed foods that are easy to pack, but not necessarily healthy and nutritious to fuel your kids throughout the day," said Jennifer Willoughby, a pediatric registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic's Children.

Willoughby says researchers at Tufts University studied the lunchbox contents of more than 600 third and fourth graders. They found that only 27 percent of them met at least three of the five national school lunch program standards from the federal government. They include: fruit, vegetables, grains, meat or another protein source and milk.

Researchers concede that the findings aren't comprehensive enough to formulate specific recommendations, but hope parents can provide a healthy-balance for their children. Willoughby agrees.

"Put at least a few options in there that you know is going to fuel them because when you're just putting these snack packs in, pretzels, chips, all of the easy, convenient foods they may enjoy it, but they're going to crash partially through the day and it's really going to hinder them in school," Willoughby said.


The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus