The ABCs of School Meals

school meals

Parents are in a panic preparing for the start of school. Lists include items for the classroom, clothes, and a new backpack. And if you’re planning on making your child’s meals, add a lunch bag and healthy foods to the list as well.    

Why not take something off your plate this year and encourage your child to try their school cafeteria instead? Here are the ABCs of why your student should give school meals a try. 

A+ Nutrition

School meals today are much healthier and fresher than many of us remember. Federal guidelines ensure that students are provided whole grains, milk, fruits, vegetables, and protein foods. These nutritious foods can have a big impact on both your child’s health and academic performance. For example, a serving of milk at school breakfast or lunch provides your child with 13 essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc to support immunity and protein to keep them full and focused throughout the school day. 

Better Grades Begin at Breakfast

School mornings are hectic and sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in a healthy meal. Instead of skipping breakfast or grabbing something sugary on their way out the door, have your child try breakfast at school instead. Studies have shown that students who eat a balanced breakfast including nutrient-rich foods like dairy have increased academic performance.

Cool options for Kids

More healthy options make it easier for students to meet their nutrition needs. That’s why The Dairy Alliance partners with schools to expand opportunities for students to make healthy food choices. We provide resources to help school nutrition programs offer yogurt parfaits, smoothies, self-dispensing milk, and even Moo Brew (iced coffee with milk!)

Encourage your child to explore the many healthy options their cafeteria provides so they can eat smarter this school year. 

Donna Speed, MS, RDN

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