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Kids Lunches

Ideal Quantities of Calories for a School Lunch

Do you know how many calories you pack every day in the school lunch for your kid? The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine Panel on this topic recommended that the government should take care that schools offer meals which will have more whole grains, fruits and vegetables included. But, this will increase all the costs.

Some will say that there’s no need of panels and organizations to tell us this, we all know that kids have to eat healthy and have nutritious meals throughout the day but also in their school lunch. But numbers are showing a different fact, a third of the kids in America are obese or overweight. So, schools need to set the habits and standards of healthy eating.

Using fresh produce in the school meals can push the cost of the breakfasts and meals in schools for 25% and 9%, respectively. President Obama suggested an increase of $1 billion in the US for the school lunch funding, but the source of that money is yet to be found.

What the Institute of Medicine recommended was this:

  • Lowering the levels of salt gradually in the next decade
  • The breads, or at least half of them, should contain 50% of whole grains
  • Having more vegetables ( more orange vegetables and leafy green instead of the starchy ones like the potato)
  • Setting an upper limit for the calories, just like there is a minimum limit
  • More fruits and only half of them as juice
  • Cutting saturated fat levels by using a fat free milk or 1% milk

Here are the maximum limits for calories that the school lunch should contain:

  • For K-five students 650 calories
  • For kids in 6th to 8th grade 700 calories
  • For kids in 9th to 12th grade 850 calories

The maximum limits for breakfasts are as follows:

  • For K-five students 500 calories
  • For kids in 6th to 8th grade 550 calories
  • For kids in 9th to 12th grade 600 calories

So, if you decide that your kid should have a school lunch packed from home, these are some quantities that should be considered, since most of the kids rely on these lunches throughout the day. But, many parents lack money, time or knowledge to pack the school lunches for their kids. Kids at risk from obesity and overweight should be getting all the calories and nutrients from their school lunches, because they spend most of their time there.

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