by Guest Post

The Benefits of a Healthy School Lunch for Your Child

by Guest Post

Many kids rely on school lunch for their mid-day meal. Here’s why choosing a school with a good lunch program can make a difference for your child!

If you enjoy preparing and eating tasty, nutritious food, chances are that you were exposed to healthy eating from a very young age. Good habits like these, in fact, are often rooted in a person’s upbringing.

Would you like your child to grow up knowing how important it is to eat a balanced, wholesome, and delicious diet? Then, you need to encourage positive behaviours around food right from when they’re very little. 

This is not just a job for you, though: your child’s school plays a vital role, too. Choosing a school with an excellent school lunch program is paramount to help continue the great work you’re already doing at home.

Read on to find out all about how a healthy school lunch can help your little one to thrive.

school lunchWhy Is Healthy Eating Important for Your Child?

Healthy eating is important for us as adults: it helps to keep our immune system strong, our focus high, and our emotional and physical wellbeing stable.

The same is also true for a child. Areas such as brain function, bone and muscle health, and more, all rely on the nutrients that your child gets from food. Much like an adult, a child will feel at their best when they’ve had regular, filling, and tasty meals.

As a general rule, you’ll want your child to eat three main meals each day — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — plus a morning and afternoon snack. By doing so, you will ensure that their developing bodies and brains are ready to tackle the challenges of their daily lives.

Young children, though, are often very picky when it comes to eating foods that are good for them. So, what can you do to ensure they still get all the nutrients they need?

How Can You Persuade Your Child to Eat Healthy Foods?

To encourage your child to eat more of what is good for them, you’ll need four “weapons”. A relaxed, non-stressed eating environment; fun and praise when eating; an adult as a role model; allowing them the occasional treat.

Creating a positive atmosphere at mealtimes is crucial. Remember: you don’t want your child to grow up thinking that eating healthy food is an obligation and that they will never be able to eat what they like.

The keyword here is “balance”. Talk to them about how eating spinach can make them become “invincible”, or how getting a sweet fix from a baked banana gives their brains superpowers.

Praise is another important aspect. When they’re finally munching on that broccoli stalk, highlight how great they’re doing, and don’t be afraid to sound a bit over-the-top. Cheer them on, clap them, and smile plenty. 

Children, especially very young ones, love to imitate the grown-ups around them. So, if you show them how excited and happy you are whenever you eat a big plate of vegetables, chances are that they’ll want to copy you. Meaning, they’ll start chomping on their own food.

Last but not least, it’s crucial to let your child have a treat, every now and again. Treats don’t have to be unhealthy: for example, you could bake a sugar-free banana and chocolate chip cake, ginger oat cookies, or coconut milk and berry ice lollies. 

By doing so, you’ll still give your little one the chance to eat something fun and delicious, while keeping their sugar intake under control.

What Makes a Meal “Healthy”?

Now, you might wonder what exactly constitutes a “healthy” meal for a child. The big misunderstanding here is that “healthy” often means “bland”, or “tasteless”. This, of course, is absolutely not the case. 

You can easily find amazing recipes to prepare yummy meals that include plenty of vegetables, fish, lean meat, and fruit, and that your child will love. You could also add seasoning and spices to pack even more flavour.

In general, you’ll want your child’s plate to consist of 50% vegetables, 25% whole grains (pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, etc.), and 25% protein (coming from fish, meat, dairy, or plant-based sources such as pulses and nuts).

This is the current recommendation of the Canadian Food Guide, so keep it in mind whenever you are preparing a meal for your family.

Why Is School Lunch So Important?

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want your hard work at home to continue when your child is away from you. This means finding a school with an excellent school lunch program.

Imagine going to all the effort of cooking great-tasting, nutritious breakfasts and dinners, if your child’s school serves them bland dishes with poor nutritional value. A wholesome, delicious school lunch sets your child up for the rest of the day and plays a vital part in their academic performance.

The in-house chef at Pear Tree School has worked in conjunction with a holistic nutritionist to design our Healthy Hot School Lunch Program. Aimed at fuelling your little one’s brain and body, our meals help our pupils to perform at their best, both in life and at school.

Catering to a wide array of dietary needs, our school lunch program is accompanied by cooking activities and physical exercise. This works as a complete package to help your child understand, and practice, the benefits of eating healthily, moving their body, and getting involved with preparing nutritious food.

A Healthy School Lunch to Help Your Child Thrive

Ensuring that your child eats healthily at school as well as at home is crucial for their development and academic performance. A child who follows a varied, wholesome diet and grows up with a positive attitude towards food is a child who thrives.

Ultimately, a happy, healthy, thriving child turns into an accomplished adult who performs great in life and in the workplace.

If you want to find out more about Pear Tree School’s progressive teaching model, and how it can help to give your little one a great start in life, why don’t you get in touch with us today?