Parent-prepared lunchboxes are an American tradition with about 40% of elementary school children bringing lunch pails to class. But new research cautions that many meals actually get a failing grade when it comes to meeting federal guidelines for good nutrition. The finding published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is based on a photographic analysis of 1 day’s worth of prepared meals among more than 600 kids at 12 elementary schools. Sandwiches were a feature of nearly 6 in 10 lunches. But while packaged snacks like chips, pretzels, or popcorn were found in about 4 in 10 meals, only about a third contained fruit. In fact, desserts were almost as common as fruit while sugar-sweetened drinks found in about 1/4 of lunches were almost as common as water. In the end only about a quarter of lunches met 3 out of 5 National School Lunch Program standards. And with snack content even worse the findings suggest that parents may need to ratchet up the nutritional quality of the lunches they prepare.
I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news for healthier living.