Busted. So busted.
I’ve been meaning to write about this new Tufts study on the nutritional sins of the lunches kids bring to school. (No, it’s not just the cafeterias with their “vegetable” ketchup.)
But the spurts of guilt kept deterring me — the guilt of a mother who has been known to fill a lunchbox with Sun chips, alphabet cookies, challah and nothing else. Not even a pretense of a vitamin.
So I’m thrilled that the Boston Globe’s Beth Teitell has taken it on: At Lunch, Home-Packed May Not Mean Healthy.
Over 40 percent of U.S. schoolchildren bring their lunches to school on a given day.
Bottom line: It looks like the lunches that most kids bring to school are nutritionally pathetic. When researchers examined — and documented in photos — the lunches of more than 600 Massachusetts third- and fourth-graders in six public school districts, the meals almost all flunked. From the press release:
[Lead author Jeanne] Goldberg and colleagues compared students’ lunch and snack items to federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Food Care Program (CAFCP) standards, respectively. They found that only 27% of the lunches met at least three of the five NSLP standards, and only 4% of snacks met at least two of the four CAFCP standards, both of which emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low- or non-fat dairy.
The findings highlight the challenges associated with packing healthful items to send to school. “When deciding what to pack, parents are juggling time, cost, convenience, and what is acceptable to their children. Unfortunately, these factors are not always in harmony with good nutrition,” Goldberg said.
“Lunches were comprised more of packaged foods than anything else,” Goldberg said. “Almost a quarter of the lunches lacked what would be considered an entrée, such as a sandwich or leftovers, and were instead made up of a variety of packaged snack foods and desserts.” Continue reading