Healthy food for growing kids is not only very important, it is essential. Research has recently pointed out that some adult health issues can be traced back to poor eating habits when they were younger.
Processed foods are full of preservatives, sugar, salt, fats monosodium, trans fats and other chemicals that no one really knows about. Processed fruit drinks are full of sugar – the manufacturers disguise this by advertising “no fat” which is true and they say the juice has fruit sugars (which really is another name for sugar). Manufactures use fructose instead of sugar, it has been found that fructose is worse than sugar when it comes to dietary requirements.
Effects of poor nutrition from school lunches go beyond weight gain. A child who eats too much fat, sugar, sodium or processed food and too few vitamins and minerals is likely to develop a higher risk over time for several chronic health problems. These might include diabetes, kidney stones, bone loss, cancer and heart disease. Active kids who need more calories than they need are also at risk, and may end up feeling weak, fatigued or nauseous during sports and exercise.
Proper nutrition is also tied to better academic performance, so kids who eat unhealthy lunches are more likely to score lower on tests and have a harder time with schoolwork. There are long-term effects as well. A child’s poor dietary habits can even influence sleep patterns, which may have an effect on cognitive behaviours and academic abilities. According to the results of a research review published in 2004 in the "British Journal of Nutrition," children who are micronutrient-deficient may exhibit more aggressiveness, less mental endurance and lower intelligence test scores.
Healthy lunch ideas
Make sure that fruits and vegetables are a part of lunch for your child. Low fat or non fat dairy should be selected over regular fat milk and cheese. Make lunch fun by packing a note for your child, cutting up healthy sandwiches into fun shapes or adding flavoured milk to the lunch box. Give your child healthy choices and have him put his lunch together if he is old enough so that he feels that he has control over what he is eating.
Switching to homemade, packed lunches—at least a few times a week—can have a positive impact upon your child's health and nutrition.