Nutrition in educational institutions is regulated in accordance with generally accepted sanitary and epidemiological norms. This means that the food in the school canteen is guaranteed to be of high quality and safely cooked. But preparation of meals according to the rules and observing the standards does not mean a delicious taste. School food, as a rule, is unappetizing, and, in the opinion of some schoolchildren, completely inedible.
Children have the right to eat outside the school
What should parents do if a child refuses a school porridge for breakfast and a cold cutlet for lunch, pushes aside a plate of low-salt soup? First of all, it is necessary to understand that the legislation does not provide for compulsorily paid meals in the canteen. The child must have proper and diverse nutrition, receive all the necessary vitamins from the quality food, but this does not mean that parents should pay to the school. In no regulatory legal act, there are norms obliging moms and dads to choose a standard ration, whatever the representatives of the school administration say.
It is also wrong to demand a doctor’s testimony that the child has any illnesses that do not allow him to eat at school. Even a simple “I don’t like how it tastes” is already a reason to think about alternative nutrition, because the pupil will simply leave the plate on the table without touching the food, remaining hungry for the whole day.
Secondly, parents should evaluate their strengths in advance and understand whether they are ready to provide the child with a full-fledged alternative feeding each day: to get up an hour or two earlier, to prepare breakfast and lunch, to pack them in safe, light and convenient containers, to keep in mind that vegetables and fruits always should be in the diet of the child, that food should be easily taken from the bag and eaten, so that it does not crumble or smell too much. Also, parents should be sure that breakfast and lunch can replenish energy during the day, which means they should contain proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber.
If the family is not ready for this kind of difficulties, the pupil should be given the freedom to choose food, because mom and dad will not be able to control him forever.
Could open campus lunch be healthy?
Nutrition outside the school is traditionally associated with McDonald’s, chocolate bars, chips, and other harmful products. This is not a reason to limit a child in a choice of meals. It’s just worth explaining to him the benefits of a healthy diet.
Of course, when a pupil is on the street, the environment attacks him with all the force of the triggers. The importance of cooking speed and anxiety about the opinions of other people are rather high. Obeying the haste and offers of classmates, a pupil can find himself in a fast food cafe with a burger and a cola. Perhaps, such a choice was made simply because he does not know about the presence of alternatives.
There are more options for healthy meals outside the school than it might seem at first glance. Parents should propose those of them which cause the least resistance at the moment, that is, lie closer to the current comfort zone of a child. Otherwise, he may simply not have enough motivation.
For example, if a kid is accustomed to eating burgers with ice-cream, he can hardly carry a green cocktail in his bag and rejoice at this fact – too much must change in his head before such an option will become comfortable. Parents can start by finding healthy food restaurants near the school, going there with a child, ordering soup and salad, eating together. This is the starting effort which will bring the first results.
Rules of healthy nutrition out of campus
Of course, parents cannot always eat with their children. However, they can discuss the nutrition plan at home. The main thing is to avoid prohibitions. They only provoke a teenager to protest. It is not a sin to eat a hamburger or a pizza sometimes, but they should be balanced with other products of the daily ration.
To help a child make the right choice, it’s worth explaining to him that, when eating out of campus, it is useful to adhere to the following recommendations:
- The choice of a cafe should not be done at the last moment, when a pupil is already very hungry. On the websites of large fast food establishments, it is possible to check in advance the content of energy, fats, proteins and carbohydrates in different complex menus.
- Eat without a haste.
- If you do not know what the dish consists of, do not hesitate to ask.
- Give up snacks, but if you still choose them, prefer a salad of fresh products. At the same time, you can refuse the main dish, order a snack and a soup.
- Prefer water to sweet soft drinks.
- Prefer stews, boiled, steamed dishes to the roasted, especially breaded meals. Fish or poultry are healthier than pork or beef. Do not eat chicken skin, it has a lot of fat. From time to time, you can choose grilled or stewed salmon or trout, since they contain many essential fatty acids, Omega-3, and Vitamin D.
- Instead of French fries, mashed or baked potatoes, choose boiled rice, potatoes or pasta. Instead of the latter, you can also choose stewed and boiled vegetables or a salad.
- Not any vegetable dish is a good choice. Ask how a garnish is cooked, prefer thermally unprocessed or steamed dishes. Some vegetables, especially onions, absorb a lot of fat while frying.
- Discard the dessert or choose a fruit salad.
- Prefer the quality to the quantity.
Knowing these simple rules, young people will eat healthy food because they want it and not because they have to. A democratic, independent approach should be applied to all other spheres of education. For example, university students who already have active labor life decide whether to write academic papers on their own or to use writing services. Having made a choice in favor of career growth, they realize the depth of responsibility. The same should concern the choice of food. Only in this way, it is possible to grow a self-sufficient person.