Healthy eating habits are important in every aspect of life, but especially at school. Whether one is in school part time or full time, they will usually need to eat at some point during school hours. Many will turn to unhealthy options while at school due to convenience, but this can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Healthy eating habits at school will benefit not only the body, but the mind as well.
Students have two choices when it comes to healthy eating at school: they can bring food from home, or can purchase food at school. When bringing food from home, it may be necessary to use a bag or box that will keep food cool. Great items for a bag lunch include fruit, vegetables, a sandwich or wrap, and water. Apples are a good source of fiber and are easy to eat on the go. Apple slices can be paired with peanut butter or almond butter, both of which are good sources of protein. Baby carrots or carrot sticks pair nicely with hummus. Baby bell peppers are also great for bag lunches and can be eaten like an apple. A healthy sandwich or wrap would use whole wheat bread or a whole wheat tortilla. Hummus or low fat cream cheese can be used to bind the wrap, and great additions can be shredded carrots, lettuce, tomato and a meat option such as turkey or chicken breast. Tuna sandwiches can be healthy options if used with minimal mayonnaise. Flax seed chips or unsalted nuts are also easy items that can be eaten on the go or in between classes.
If purchasing lunch at school, it will depend on the institution as to what options are available. A salad bar is a good choice as long as the dressing is not calorie-laden, such as full-fat ranch or thousand island. Croutons should also be used minimally. A healthy salad will consist of plenty of lettuce (spinach or romaine is more nutritious than iceberg), shredded carrot or zucchini, kidney beans or chickpeas, tomatoes, and sprouts. Another healthy option is a rice bowl. Brown rice is healthier than white rice, and the proportion of protein and vegetables should be equal to or more than the rice portion. Vending machines are common at many schools, and most of the items inside are unhealthy. Both regular and diet soda are to be avoided; bottled water is always a safe choice.