4 Ways to Help Your Child Adopt Healthier Habits in School
Author and filmmaker Amy Kalafa is on a mission to motivate millions of parents nationwide to improve the food served in their school lunchrooms and build a better, healthier future for the next generation. Her book, LUNCH WARS, has been called a “battlefield manual…for building a better school lunchroom today” (Kirkus Reviews).
Since these improvements take time, here are four ways to understand the school food landscape in your community and educate your children now:
1) VISIT THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA AND HAVE LUNCH WITH YOUR CHILD
It’s the best way to see what the school is really serving.
2) TEACH YOUR KIDS TO READ LABELS
As you go through the lunch line with your child, have them point out what they think is healthy and what’s not. You’ll see quickly whether they know what the best options are. For example, your child may point out a cereal bar or a yogurt, but when you turn it over, read the label and see that the first ingredient or two is sugar or corn syrup, you’ll be able to highlight these health-food imposters. It’s a process of teaching your kids, in the lunch line itself, to learn what’s healthy and what’s not by teaching them to read labels.
3) OBTAIN THE SCHOOL’S INGREDIENT LIST
Parents can get an ingredient list from the school, as all schools need to have that by law. And if you’re not happy with that list or with the choices that you find in your child’s school, there are ways that you can work with other parents and your school’s food service director and administrators to usher in healthier choices.
4) GET THE LUNCH SYSTEM TO WORK WITH YOU
Don’t want your child to eat Twinkies or Pop Tarts every day? For schools that have computerized systems, you can often use these to see what your child is eating and even block certain items so that they can’t be ordered.