When you’re trying to encourage kids to make healthy choices for lunch, it can feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. Kids seem to naturally gravitate towards the least healthy choices, even when healthier fare is offered. With regulations regarding what foods kids need to choose in order for lunches to be paid for, it can feel like school administrators are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
New studies have shown an easy method for encouraging kids to make good choices that support their health, and your healthy lunch program!
Make choices before lunch time
When do you make the best choices for food? When you’re desperately hungry and smelling all your favorite, greasy smells, or when you’re relaxed and calm, thinking forward, but not all that hungry yet?
There’s a reason that adults are often told to go shopping after they eat, to plan meals ahead of time, to pack lunch from home. We make better, more considered choices about food before we’re hungry. When we’re already hungry, we crave quick energy, simple carbs, and the kinds of foods that don’t translate into long term fuel for our bodies.
Knowing this, schools in New York gave children the chance to pre-order their lunch choices. Without question, they found that a much larger percentage of kids chose healthier options when they were making their selections well before lunch time. 29 percent of kids chose a healthier lunch option when they could pre-order, versus just 15 percent when they needed to choose in the lunch line.
Help parents help their kids
One of the many considerations parents have when they choose a school for their child is the lunch program. Parents want their kids to be healthy, and want to know that the school will help support that parental mission.
There are many ways for kids to pre-order their lunches, from paper or online choices made at home, to choices made in the classroom. Younger children can be assisted by parents and teachers, while older kids can see this as an independent step. However your school chooses to implement lunch pre-orders, they result in healthier choices for kids, which means kids who are more prepared for school, have better energy levels, and have fewer disciplinary problems within school.
It’s amazing that one simple process, encouraging kids to pre-order their lunch, can have such a dramatic effect on their day, but the evidence so far is clear. Implement this process now, and see a dramatic improvement in the eating habits of kids.
To learn more about School Lunch Pre-Order Software, click here!