[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ike a Disney song, it is taken for granted that ‘Mother knows best’.
The GREEN Project lunch box study by Tufts University sheds a little insight that sometimes, even moms make mistakes.
Sending lunch to kids is a herculean task. They’re fussy eaters, especially when they’re young. They pick their food through a tooth-comb, and especially at school where they’re free from their parent’s watchful gaze.
In the morning rush, it may be hard to bring the ‘yummy taste aspect’ into lunches. So, the food that moms send tend to fall short on time and nutrition.
A study published in the ‘Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ showed a dismal fail grade after they assessed the nutrition of students’ lunches. The quality of packed lunches and snacks of home-lunches were compared with that of the ‘National School Lunch Program Standards’ and the ‘Child and Adult Food care Program Requirements’.
5 fingers, 5 categories of food, that’s how you remember it
626 elementary students, from the third and fourth grade, participated in this study. Their lunches were photographed and marks were allotted based on the study group’s supplemental food checklist. Based on the set criteria, home-made lunches were graded for all the 5 major food groups – Fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.
“The typical home-packed lunch contained simply a sandwich, a snack food such as chips, and water. Milk, a rich source of calcium, was sorely missing.” Tufts University
It is to be noted that out of the 41% of students who favoured home-food lunches, only 27% of the lunches met at least three of the 5 National School Lunch Program Standards. A staggering 4% met two of the four Child and Adult Food care Program Requirements.
The only ray of light for food brought from home was the fact that the fruits were fresh (not canned or sweet) and many kid friendly food like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, clementines were present.
Hope for a better report card
Does this study actually profess that the shunned school canteen food is superior to home-lunches in terms of nutritional statistics?
Schools ought to guide parents to improve the quality of food that is being sent from home. Hopefully, these supplementary classes for parents will boost up their grades.
Do you remember what your mom sent you for lunch today?