Healthy School Lunches – Debunking Myths

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,394
    Nutrition expert Beth Ann Bentley discusses some common lunch and snack food myths. Are fruit snacks really fruit? How much sugar is lurking? Are all lunch meats created equal? What is a truly healthy snack?

    Beth Ann Bentley: Hi! I am Beth Ann Bentley from ilunchbox.

    com and I am talking to you about packing healthy lunches for kids. Today, we are going to debunk some common lunch making food myths. We see on TV and in magazine ads that many fruit and fruit products are equal to a serving or two of fruits and vegetables. Well, I myself would have to give my children a fruit juice on the fly as their snack. This is definitely not the best way, and should never be the sole way your child gets their servings of fruit and vegetables. Let's take the apple for example; first, you have the apple in its true form. It's got the fiber and sugar balanced and contains all its micro nutrients.

    Apple sauce is also a good choice, especially if it's unsweetened. If you have a child with a loose tooth or wearing braces, this is an excellent choice. Fruit juice while a good choice and sometimes it will say it has a full serving of fruit or vegetables on the box. Remember, it contains no fiber, but make sure it is unsweetened. Then, we get into the processed food products: apple bars, apple snacks and my all time favorite the gummy fruit snack. All of these will say on the package that they contain a serving of fruit or make with real fruit juice. But, remember the apple in its form is still the best. When choosing a snack bar for your child, look for whole grains and no added sugar.

    It's also important to recognize processed foods over minimally processed foods; you want to choose something that's minimally processed. Protein bars are designed for adults and often contain 10 or more grams of protein. These aren't healthy for children, and they are should be used more as a meal replacement than a snack bar.

    Something like this with 20 grams of protein is not healthy for your child. On the other hand something like this with less than 1 gram of protein is really considered, a candy bar. Candy bars have less than 4 grams of protein, snack bars have 4 to 9 grams of protein and protein bars have over 10 grams of protein. Choose your snack bar.

    Now, we are going to talk about breads. We often hear that enriched white breads are as good as wholegrain breads. But no matter how much calcium and iron you add to a white bread it's not as good as wholegrain bread. Wholegrain breads have nutrients and fiber. If you want to add calcium and iron to your child's diet, do it with better food choices not enriched breads.

    Well, adding lean turkey and ham and roast beef to your child's lunch is a great way of adding protein. It's important to note that nitrates and nitrites are hazardous to your child's health, as well as your health. Look for brands that are nitrate and nitrite free, as well as free of MSG. Ask the daily counter to start carrying nitrate free cold cuts.

    Now, we are going to talk about reading food labels for serving sizes. Well, we often think that one hand of the package is the serving size or the smallest bag we pull off the shelf is one serving size, we are wrong. Here, we have an example of pitta bread. Here's two serving pita bread, well, this is really a one serving pita bread. Your standard bagel from store is this size, that's two serving, while, this is truly one serving. Chips for example in this bag you have five serving of chips, which look something like this. This bag would be considered two servings, while this is one serving. It's important to locate the serving sizes and how many servings are in a container on the food label. For instance, this contains four servings of cookies. If your child sits down and eats this entire container in one sitting, they have actually consumed four servings of cookies. I hope this has cleared up some common misunderstandings. Next, we are going to talk about dinner to lunch solutions.