Children's of Alabama Nutritionist Offers Tips for Building Healthy School LunchesAugust 10, 2021
BIRMINGHAM (Aug. 10, 2021) – Schools across the state are opening this week after summer break. Children’s of Alabama Director of Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Rainie Robinson shared some insightful tips for parents and caregivers who are looking to create healthy and tasty school lunches for their children this school year.
“When we have a well-balanced lunch, we perform better overall, whether that’s work or school,” Robinson said. “Kids end up making better test scores overall, and they stay fuller longer and they can concentrate.”
Parents can keep their child’s lunch healthy and exciting by allowing the child to make choices from a list of healthy options.
“I think it’s important to keep lunch interesting and so you don’t always just have a sandwich and chips,” Robinson added. “Be sure to include something that the kid really enjoys. Just because you’re setting the guidelines of a lunch doesn’t mean they can't have what they want.”
Kids will plenty of food throughout the day to fuel their growing bodies. That is why it is important to have snack options available for your child, especially after a long day at school.
“The main thing with snacks to consider is also similar to meals, so try to have a good protein source and either a fruit or a vegetable to give them some fiber,” Robinson said. “Maybe also offer a good fat source and maybe even nuts or seeds or avocado to help keep them full.”
When building a school lunch, parents should keep in mind the four food groups: proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables. Myplate.gov, a resource for creating balanced meals, recommends that half of the meal consist of a combination of fruits and vegetables. Also, roughly one fourth of the meal should consist of a healthy protein, while the other fourth should be a healthy whole grain.
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient, outpatient and primary care throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves patients from every county in Alabama and nearly every state. Children’s is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. The medical staff consists of UAB faculty and Children’s full-time physicians as well as private practicing community physicians.