Be There: Nutritious Lunches

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Getting your kids to try new foods may be difficult enough, but getting them to like the food is a completely different battle.

Lunch break for schools is a national fundraiser that creates healthy meals for kids, and the proceeds go to create nutrition-based education. Chef Jamie Keating with the RiverMill Event Center in Columbus is participating in the program and gives parents some helpful tips on making healthy meals. He told News Leader 9, "We're taking the initiative and the awareness of having better lunches in the school systems. Basically what we're doing is gaining knowledge and keeping folks aware of the fact that healthy eating is very important and childhood obesity has grown dramatically."

The first step to take when introducing healthy food options is to bring in lots of colorful food, like fruits and vegetables. Then Chef Keating says you can start taking out the junk food and start replacing it with more pieces of the food pyramid.

"When you're packing those school lunches try not to pack them with things that are carbohydrates. When children are in school all day long, they need a burst of energy to get them through the day. Think smart and look at nutritional data on the back of those packages and that will help guide your way."

If parents continue to put healthy foods in their kid's lunchbox, eventually the child will start to make nutritious food choices on their own, whether they are going through the lunch line or eating out.

"We just hope that everyone else is taking that initiative whether you are cooking in a school cafeteria, writing the school menus, a registered dietician or just a mom and father making your kids lunches just please think about the well-being of the child. It starts there, through education and knowledge of foods starts today and it will last through the rest of their lives."

Another good tip is to offer a new food to your child multiple times before they are allowed to refuse it. That way they have to try it.

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