Factors of Unhealthy School Lunches
Do you know what your child eats for lunch every day at school? While the school may promise you they are feeding your children highly nutritious well-rounded lunches, they may be quite on the opposite side of it. School lunches being offered by schools operating under the federal laws and the government; need to follow a certain code of guidelines regarding their nutritional profiles. Most times, these unhealthy school lunches account for salt, fats and calories that are too high for the good of the children. Children consuming such unhealthy school lunches are bound to suffer in one or another.
Here are some of the factors that contribute towards making these school lunches unhealthy, under-nutritioned and far from being wholesome.
Excessive Amounts of Oil
Most schools offer lunches that are very high in fats and infested with oil and loaded with carbs. These unhealthy school lunch components contribute immensely to weight gain in those kids who eat them. What most schools do is come up with a meal of the day option and on the side provide a list of a la carte items as well in order to earn more money at the expense of the child’s health. If a child chooses the meal and couples it with some high-calorie option off the menu, the child is bound to be directed towards unhealthy eating which will only result in weight gain and obesity in the near future.
Lack of Fruits and Vegetables
Under the National School Lunch Program regulations, schools are required and encouraged to serve vegetables and fruits in school lunches. Schools must offer the children a number of kinds of foods ranging from fruits, veggies, grains, proteins ad dairy. However, surveys have shown that offering these foods and not serving them in the meals of the day mean that most children will skip them out and be more inclined towards unhealthy school lunch options. Produce, such as fruits and vegetables, is an excellent source of a plethora of vitamins and minerals, and skipping out on these means a serious lack of nutrition being administered to these growing children. It is advisable to offer children healthy food options from every food group to encourage a well-balanced wholesome nutritious diet instead of a restricted one. Furthermore, these diet plans should be culminated in the meal of the day options rather than the sideline options so that the kids have more forceful interaction with these foods.
High Calorie Count
School lunches are high in calorie count and fat content and promote obesity among the children. Obesity and abnormal weight gain can also be a gateway to other health conditions and diseases, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes. The option of a la carte’s being offered in school lunches by an increasing number of schools has led to an upsurge in the probability of obesity amongst school going children, which in turn may also make them susceptible to other conditions as well. According to various surveys, children who were offered just one meal in school lunches consumed a lesser number of fats and calories than those who had a la carte options available to them.
A Downhill Performance at School
Another major concern that unhealthy school lunches give birth to is poor school performance. If the children are receiving a diet that does not rank high on the scale of nutrition, then they are bound to face poor cognition and a decreased poor performance in the classroom. Furthermore, the lack of nutrition may translate into a weakened body system more susceptible to illnesses leading to sick days and skipping of class. An unhealthy school lunch has the potential of ruining your child’s performance not only academically but athletically as well.