Do you know what’s in your child’s lunch at school? For preschool students, in particular, it’s imperative that the staff provides a nutritious lunch. This blog post will detail the importance of a healthy lunch and how it can mentally and physically affect your child.

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U.S. Lunch Standards

In 2012, the U.S. government updated the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to include healthier choices for students. Changes included counting fruits and vegetables as separate meal groups, offering fruit every day, making whole grain choices available, providing different meal sizes for different grades, as well as reducing sodium and trans fat in meals.

It’s been five years since the change and not all schools implement the program or not all students eat the healthier options.

Physical Effects of an Unhealthy Lunch

It’s no secret that obesity continues to be an issue for kids in the U.S. The Weight-Control Information Network cites that nearly a third of adolescents and kids in the nation are overweight or obese. But the effects of poor nutrition from school lunches go beyond weight gain. A child who consumes too much fat, sugar, sodium, or processed foods does not get enough vitamins and minerals, making them more likely to be at risk for chronic health problems down the road. These could include diabetes, kidney stones, bone loss, cancer, and heart disease. Plus, kids who engage in sports and exercise are likely to struggle with fatigue caused from an unhealthy lunch earlier in the day.

Mental Effects

Better performance in the classroom is often tied to proper nutrition. When you think about it, can you blame your child for not being able to focus on schoolwork if they aren’t fueled with the proper nutrition? Over several grade levels and leading into adolescence, not getting essential nutrients during meals can lower a child’s IQ scores, memory capacities, fine motor skills, social skills, and language skills. Sleep can also be negatively impacted from an unhealthy school lunch. When children fail to get enough quality sleep, they’re likely to face challenges both cognitively and academically.

Choose a Child Care Center That Emphasizes Good Nutrition

At Tiny Turtles Preschool of Jupiter, we have free hot nutritional meals prepared daily! We also provide tasty, healthy snacks for our after-school program. We invite you to take a look at our menu so you can see what we will be serving your child every day. Below is the meal options for the week of February 20:

  • Monday – Chicken barbecue glazed, mixed veggies, applesauce (snack: broccoli, graham crackers)
  • Tuesday – Cheeseburgers, corn, orange slices (snack: peaches, pretzels)
  • Wednesday – Ham and cheese sandwich (snack: strawberry yogurt, wheat crackers)
  • Thursday – Chicken tenders, green beans, apple slices (snack: sharp cheddar crackers, 100 percent mango juice)
  • Friday – Veggie patties, collared greens, fruit cocktail (snack: Cheez-It crackers, 100 percent white grape juice)  

Our expert teaching staff put together our Jupiter preschool education using a well-balanced, unique curriculum dedicated to the development of infants and young children. Our Create Curriculum offers thematic units that consist of activities involving computer labs, reading, writing, arts and crafts, math, science, music, physical education, library, dramatic play, and so much more. With a full schedule every day, we ensure that your child eats a healthy lunch and snack.

Call us today for more information regarding our child care center.