Proper nutrition should be an extremely important factor for all people, no matter what age they are. How your body functions every day truly depends on what you put into it and how you take care of it. Nutrition is especially important for children and adolescents because their brains and bodies are still developing and need to get specific vitamins and nutrients. For some families, it can be hard to find the time to prepare and pack the foods your child needs for a successful day at school. Luckily, many elementary, middle, and high schools offer cafeterias with pre-selected meals so that you don’t have to worry about what your child is eating. The Walnut Valley Unified School District in our own area posts their menus online every month so that you are able to see what they have available. We took a look at the lunch menu this month and created this guide to help you talk to your child about making healthy choices with the options they have available to them at school.
The schools in our district currently offer lunches in the cafeteria Monday through Friday, with specific choices that are available every day as well as options that vary from day today. For the options that are offered every day, there are tuna sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, and even hummus trays with eggs and cheese. These options are all great sources of energy, as well as delicious ways to get daily sources of protein. Along with these sandwiches, fresh salads are also offered every day, which is a great way for students to get their daily vegetables in. For the students that like to have more variety in their meals, there are dishes that vary for every day of the month! For example, the meal options vary anywhere from spaghetti with meat sauce, to curry chicken rice bowls, and even taco tuesdays! Although these options are not all entirely healthy, children have the option of choosing from these and other healthier entrees and side options. They can choose from yogurt, which is beneficial for teeth due to the calcium, fresh fruit, and vegetable varieties. Teaching your child the importance of balance and variety can help them go a long way in their health journey.
Many products marketed toward children are loaded with sugar. Teach your child to enjoy these items in moderation as excessive consumption of sugar can lead to cavities, gum disease, tooth discoloration, and worn enamel.
The Walnut Valley Unified School District changes this lunch menu every month, which keeps students from getting bored of the food they are eating daily! The variances in food texture is also great for those that are brace-wearers and cannot safely chew crunchy or hard foods. Since there is at least one healthy option on the menu every day of the week, remember to encourage your child to choose at least one dish that is beneficial for their health! If you have any questions about healthy food options for your child, give us a call to schedule an appointment today!