Back-to-school time may mean a break from 24-hour parenting, but are you worried about your child’s eating habits now that you can’t keep an eye on what she’s eating at school?
David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital recently spoke to Boston.com about quick and easy steps parents can take to pack healthy snacks and school lunches for children. Here are a few of the key points:
Homemade is almost always healthier
School lunch may never have had a great reputation as far as nutrition goes, and things have only gotten worse over the years. Even when you discount obviously unhealthy choices like pizza and fries, hidden salt, artificial flavors and preservatives can tarnish even healthy options provided by many schools. “Almost anything a parent could provide will likely be better than what is served at school,” Ludwig said. “Encouragingly, some districts are aiming to improve the quality of school lunches through collaborations with local farmers, for example.”
Leftovers may get a bad rap, but with minimal effort they can often be turned into a quality lunch the following day.
“Lunches at our house usually involve some variant of what we had for dinner the night before,” Ludwig said. “Adding one new ingredient can make it seem like a whole new meal without much extra time in food preparation.” …
The fight for what our kids eat continues to rage on. The battle has moved from the home to school lunch rooms, fast food restaurants and grocery store shelves. Fresh versus frozen. Organic and local versus imported produce. Natural versus artificially sweetened beverages.
There’s no denying that we all care about what our kids consume. Yesterday, Children’s director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, wrote a piece expressing concern about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks. (The Washinton Post recently featured Dr. Ludwig on this topic. Also read more of Dr. Ludwig’s articles on children’s health here.)