Back to school lunch hacks

GREAT FALLS- Having a conversation about what our children are eating as they head back to school can have an impact on them inside and outside of the classroom which is why school dietitians have some advice for parents.

School dietitians said parents should be asking what foods their kids like and are willing to try at school because it will make it easier for them and their child.

Jessa Youngers has been in the school foodservice business for three years. She said if your child is being a picky eater or not showing interests in certain food groups, one of the best things to do is use the repetitive exposure method.

"Repetitive exposure is how we get kids to try new things when their friends are eating the same things around them whether it's cantaloupe or bell peppers, students are more likely to give it a try and once they give it a try they may find they like it," said Youngers.

When your children are at school, Youngers said, herself amongst the others who are working in the school foodservice business make an effort to help guide the students with making certain food choices to result in developing healthy life habits.

School dietitians said if your kids are buying lunch at school they have a variety of nutritious choices. However, if your child is packing lunch at home follow the My Plate guidelines.

This means half of your child's plate or lunch box should be fresh produce or veggies along with whole grains and low-fat milk. If your child is eating at school, dietitians make a conscious effort to put things like low-fat milk in the front of coolers so that's the first thing students see.

"Perspective of moderation is the motto that parents and we follow here. No foods are bad foods, no foods are avoidance foods,” said Youngers. "Teaching them how to incorporate them into a healthy diet. That's what we're here for."

The method My Plate suggests this will help allow your child to focus on variety, amount and nutrition. So if you're mixing up your child’s food choices they're less likely to get bored.

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