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How can I help my child choose healthy foods from the school cafeteria?

Samantha Heller, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
School lunches are notoriously unhealthy. In this video, registered dietitian Samantha Heller suggests smart steps you can take to make sure your child can get healthy meals in the school cafeteria.
Most schools have now incorporated healthy choices in the cafeteria. Encouraging your children to pick fruits and vegetables in their diet at home will increase the likelihood of them making healthy choices when eating at school.
School cafeterias are making strides toward serving healthier lunches. But, if your child goes through the school lunch line and chooses French fries and fruit cobbler instead of broccoli and fresh fruit, lunch can be a nutritional disaster.

So, what's a parent to do? Start by talking to your child about what nutritious foods he or she really likes, and then think of creative ways you can put those in a lunch bag. If your child uses the cafeteria, ask what he or she ate for lunch that day. Talk about what your child's friends ate that looked good. Don't get in a rut. You will encourage more varied, healthier eating when you make lunches fun and interesting. For the younger set, tuck in a note on a napkin encouraging them to enjoy their lunch.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.