Sep 06 2015

Are your childrens lunches as healthy as they should be?

Published by at 12:12 pm under probiotic supplements

What’s in your child’s school lunches?
Set your child up for success by choosing foods that will build a healthy microbiome and strong immune system.

Whether you pack your child’s lunch at home or rely on your child’s school to provide lunch for your hungry kiddo, you may want to take a closer look at what is going into their tummy and how it is affecting their physical health, mental state of mind and their microbiome as a whole. Kids are notoriously picky eaters and tend to reach for the carbs and fast food when left to their own free will. They often reach for what tastes good over that which is good for them. It takes time to educate children and get them to a point of understanding that healthful foods are important for their mental and physical well being and long term health.*

Everywhere we turn, children are plagued with choices of sugar packed and processed foods. Advertising directly aims at children as they are often the driving force behind where a family goes to eat and what is picked up at the grocery store. A friend of mine used to own a restaurant and their weekend menu focused on a fun and enticing kids menu, because if the kids wanted to go there, the parents would follow. But relying on kids to drive the menu can be a dangerous thing for the entire family, as the foods that they choose are often processed, and high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates.*

Schools know this as well. They want kids to be happy with the menu. You visit a school cafeteria, and most likely the food is pre-made, pre-cooked and highly processed, full of sodium, corn syrups, fat…all the stuff that makes it taste good and is easy to prepare These are the foods that can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome. But just because they are being served, doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. “…Processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt have become a mainstay of lunches in schools across America and the results are in — experts say these unhealthy school lunches are a contributing factor to the childhood obesity epidemic. A movement is afoot to bring change to school lunch programs across the country…”1*

“…An estimated 17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The possible consequences of childhood obesity can range from physical complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure, to social problems like low self-esteem and depression. And those problems can lead to children who don’t perform as well in school…”1*

We can’t blame kids for making the wrong choices as it is a societal issue. School lunch menus reflect what Americans are eating as a whole, just as the school lunches in other countries reflect what their society is eating. A typical school lunch in South Korea may consist of fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies. In Italy, it may be local fish, arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette and some grapes.2 In the United States, it is most likely chicken nuggets, pizza, hamburgers or some other processed food containing many artificial ingredients, high fat and sodium. Why are we doing this to our kids? Why are we allowing it to happen? Cost is a driving force behind our less than gourmet school lunches and perhaps a lack of education, which is ironic, considering these lunches are being served in our educational institutions across the country. Business is a factor, and yes even politics.2*

But not everyone is apathetic when it comes to school lunches.“…U.S. government sectors are making strides to improve the current condition of the food we’re serving to our youth. For example, by 2013, all 1,300 of New York City’s public elementary schools were equipped with a fresh salad bar in their cafeterias (and they’ll be getting snazzier in the near future). First lady Michelle Obama is vocal and active about her passion for standardizing healthy meals and snacks for children. And in 2010, President Obama signed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which requires child nutrition programs to improve and help schools provide healthier meals, including more fruits and vegetables…”2*

We continue to stress the importance a healthy microbiome has on digestion, immune system and mental health. Diet is as important to a kid’s mental health as it is their physical health. The health of one’s microbiome has been linked to mental issues including depression and anxiety. So feeding your children the foods that can most benefit their growing systems is essential. The things you can do to affect change in your child’s diet starts at home.

First and foremost, cook and serve the foods at home that you know are good for your family. Emulate good habits by serving meals high in fiber that include lots of healthy organic green vegetables and fruits, protein and limited carbs. Teach your children healthy choices and engage them in the grocery shopping, preparation and cooking process. There are so many delicious and healthy foods to choose from, but it often takes time. So plan ahead. Pre-cut veggies and have several servings available in your fridge. Buy nuts and dried fruits and separate them into snack size baggies. Create your own frozen meals and have them ready to pull out and cook for dinner. Make smoothies. And pack your child’s lunch whenever possible with the foods you want them to eat. There’s no guarantee they won’t food swap at school, but you know that you have done your best to lead them in the right direction. Supplementing with a good probiotic can make a world of difference for your child’s gut. Choose BODY BIOTICS™ CHILDREN’S CHEWABLES or BODY BIOTICS™ BIO IDENTICAL SBO PROBIOTICS CONSORTIA™ to know that your child is getting the friendly bacteria they need. Their guts will thank you, their brains will thank you and their immune systems will thank you.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.artinstitutes.edu/blog/unhealthy-school-lunches-not-making-the-grade
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/school-lunches-around-the-world_n_6746164.html

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