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Your child’s cafeteria food choices

You have a say in what your child eats at home, but as for the school cafeteria, it becomes a little harder. Here are some ways to help encourage better eating habits when the caf food is not the greatest.

Kids eating lunch at school

Eating in the cafeteria is a bit of a rite of passage when it comes to going to school. But unfortunately the choices offered in the average school cafeteria are often not the healthiest. So what can you do as a parent sending your child off to school?

Teach your kids to make healthy food choices

One of the best ways to show your kids how to make healthy choices when it comes to diet is to eat well yourself. You play a big role in influencing how they behave, so when they see you enjoying fresh produce and avoiding fast food and packaged snacks, they’ll come to model their eating habits after yours. But you should also take the time to explain what healthy eating is, how food affects our bodies and how, in the long run, healthy eating will help you all lead long, active lives.

Make their lunches most days

If the lunch choices at the caf are truly poor and you have the time, pack your kids’ lunches for school so you have a say in what they eat. That said, if there is peer pressure (and there likely will be) for your child to eat cafeteria food (and they’ll want to be like all their friends), then allow them to be like everyone else one day of the week and eat cafeteria food. In the grand scheme of things, one cafeteria meal out of the many meals your child eats in a week isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Kick-start a health revolution in your kid’s school life

Taking on the school system to transform what is sold in the school’s cafeteria is a huge undertaking, and it’s understandable if you don’t have the time to do so. But you can make some small changes when it comes to your child’s school itself. Get involved with the parent-teacher association, and encourage teachers to offer rewards that are not junk food-based. For example, instead of a pizza party, suggest they change the reward to an outdoor games hour, or instead of selling chocolate bars for fundraising, opt to sell crafts.

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