Which meals contain more calories?How does calorie count differ between school made lunches and lunches brought from home? Researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab looked at the food diaries of 2,314 US children of various ages and found that those who ate lunches brought from home consumed 96 more calories than their school meal eating classmates. However, those with more calories in their packed lunches ended up eating fewer calories later in the day. The researchers concluded that the difference in calorie count between school lunches and lunches brought from home was not statistically significant.
These findings can be leveraged by school cafeteria personal to show parents that school lunches are a healthy choice. At many schools they are nutritious and balanced to suit the dietary needs of the students and the requirements of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Some parents seem to believe that school meals are too calorically dense or lacking in calories. This study debunks that myth by showing that school meal programs offer the same fuel that those packed-with-love lunches offer but without any extra calories.
For additional healthy lunchroom design tips visit: www.extension.org/healthy_food_choices_in_schools
Tips from Healthy Food Choices in Schools’ “Lunch from Home or Lunch from School: Which Leads to a Healthier Student?” Lara Latimer, PhD, Cornell Food and Brand Lab