OSF HealthCare reminds of eating smart at school

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PEORIA, Ill. — In addition to the nightly rituals of homework and making sure things are ready for the next day comes the daily “What will they eat for lunch?” discussion.

For some, this can be a struggle.

Being hungry has an enormous impact on a student’s ability to learn, so you want to make sure your child has enough to eat during the day. At the same time you want it to be healthy – but they have to want to eat it, too. It can be a delicate balance, Shelby Miller with the University of Illinois College of Medicine said.

“If it’s chicken patty sandwich with green beans and a fruit and a milk and the kids like the sandwich and they like the fruit, but maybe they don’t like green beans, send them with some carrots. You can kind of fill that hole with something else,” Miller said. “Or if they don’t ever like the sides that go with the main dish, and you want them to have that main thing, whether it be the chicken sandwich or the cheeseburger or the pizza, it’s okay to always send something extra.”

When it comes to school lunches, Miller says planning ahead is key. Most schools have a menu that is sent out. She encourages families to look at those menus and decide if what’s offered is something their child will eat or not. Then you’re able to decide to pack a lunch or eat at school.

The occasional chocolate or strawberry milk often sold by schools is okay on occasion, think of it as a once-a-week treat.

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