Medical Minute: Importance of school lunches

MINOT, N.D. - With school back in full swing school lunches can become an overwhelming priority that has challenges and can be expensive.

Though school lunches can take time and money to make at home the midday meal is important to keep our young learners focused. In this week's Medical Minute we speak with Trinity, parents, students, and school lunch staff about how to maintain a well balanced meal.
For little learners, lunch has multiple functions.

"I would say getting to choose what you get to eat," said Carter Larson, Perkett fifth-grader.

"Eating the food and talking to my friends," said Trent Howell, Perkett fifth-grader.

"You get to talk to your friends and be loud," says Zoe Sanders, Perkett fifth-grader.

But the most important function: to get nourishment.

"Lunch provides a lot of nutrients. Those nutrients are important for brain growth and to provide them energy for playing," said Michelle Fundingsland, Trinity Health registered dietician nutritionist.

And school lunch staffs say they are focused on fulfilling all your food group needs.

"We offer one of everything, at least of the five food groups and what the children are required to take is at least three of those five with one being a fruit or vegetable," said Renae Rudolph, Perkett Elementary School Lunch Staff.

While it can cost two to five dollars for school lunch. You can make one at home. If you're willing to deal with the cost.

"I'm like floored! It's just crazy to me because I'm feeding a four year old why should I be spending close to a hundred dollars a month," said Miriah Anderson, parent.

And parents, we know that's not the only challenge.

"Putting in things that they like and what I know they're going to eat, not just throw away," said Gaylne Schweer, parent.

"Also time consuming. So we've worked hard on finding different things that can incorporate it to make it easier. Like, we have some Tupperware lunch sets that we use," said Kimberly Truax, grandparent.

But there are a few things you can do to make it a bit easier.

"Look at the labels, look at your already prepared lunch and is that around 14 grams. Are they going to eat every component of it? Making that the night before so so you have enough time in the morning to grab an ice pack and load it up and put it in their back pack," said Fundingsland.

Lunch, whether for school or work, is a necessity. But breaking the bank and jumping through hoops to create a well balanced midday meal doesn't have to be.

Trinity says you can find a lot of cute and easy home made school lunch ideas online or as your school's lunch staff.