Tips for a nutritious school lunch - NBC40.net

Tips for a nutritious school lunch

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What's for lunch? It's a question being asked all over, as parents prepare to send their children off to school.

"Their cells are growing so much faster than ours so it's important that you're giving them the right nutrients," said Eliana Bravo, health & fitness coach and mother of three.

But what are the right foods? We asked the experts, who said knowing the right foods is just as important as recognizing the wrong ones.

"You want to avoid the chips, the cookies," said Bravo. "Those things are just gonna give your child a burst of energy and then they're just going to be tired in school."

"When it comes to kids I think it's important to look at their sugar intake. Everything that is processed in a box or a bag –tends to have a high sugar content. And when the kids take it in their body it really affects their entire system," said holistic health counselor Deana Bonafiglio.

But how do you know which foods are whole and which are processed? Just take a look at the ingredients. If you see a short list of ingredients with easy to read words like, 'fruits, nuts and honey,' go for it. On the other hand, an ingredients list full of complicated artificial ingredients? That should raise some warning signs.

"High fructose corn syrup. Everything that's hydrolyzed or autolyzed is a hidden MSG, yeast extract as well. Anything really that has the ingredients list that looks like that is not a good idea. You want three to five ingredients, relative to the type of food your eating.

And chew on this: Experts say it's important to expose children to healthy foods early, to develop responsible eating habits.

"Your palette gets used to it after a while. Like if you're trying to change your child over from the junk food to healthy food they say it takes about 8 times of introducing the child to a new food for them to actually start to accept it," said Bravo.

"We're training them. We're conditioning them. We're the ones that are telling them how to live in this world or be in this life," explained Bonafiglio.

A little food for thought to start the school year off healthy.

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