Back to School: What’s for Lunch?
Tips and resources for healthy student eating
Last year, Arlington Public Schools served more than 277,000 breakfasts and more than 1 million lunches to students.
Keeping all those students fed with nutritious food — when many would rather load up on sugar and candy — is no easy feat for parents or the school system.
Here are a few things to keep in mind this school year:
Like other school districts, Arlington Public Schools is making significant strides in buying produce locally and offering healthy options to students — whole wheat bread, plenty of fruits and vegetables and milk without growth hormones.
So children don’t have to carry cash, APS participates in myschoolbucks.com, a website where parents can load a student’s account with a credit card and keep track of what he or she is purchasing. The account can pay for cafeteria food, library fees and some school supplies. Arlington is one of only five school systems in Virginia participating in the program.
Getting Students to Make Good Choices
The blog Moms Get Real recommends parents sit down with their children and plan lunch menus. This can be a combination of school and brown bag lunches. “Let the kids have input, so they feel included. Then, post the menu on the fridge at their eye-level. Tip: don’t forget to include healthy snacks like organic granola bars to keep them full and focused all day – and away from vending machines,” the blog recommends.
Another recommendation: Have your children help cook at home on the weekends, and they’ll be more likely to make healthier choices, according to a study from the University of Alberta.
Breakfast and lunch menus will be available online here later this summer.
Here is the application for free or reduced-price school meals.