Parents: Just how healthy is your child's school lunch? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Parents: Just how healthy is your child's school lunch?

We all want what's best for our kids and school lunches are no exception. (Source: Raycom Media Network) We all want what's best for our kids and school lunches are no exception. (Source: Raycom Media Network)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

We all want what's best for our kids, and school lunches are no exception.

Lunch at school is an everyday event - either you bring it, or you buy it.

"Sometimes school lunch can be a lot healthier," said nutritionist Mary Etta Dunaway.

She works at Southeast Health's Diabetes Center in Cape Girardeau. It's safe to say she's a school lunch expert.

"It really is better just to pack some of your leftovers and take your own food. Your own whole foods that don't have all the processed nitrates," Dunaway said.

Dunaway says foods like sandwiches with deli meat or premade sandwiches or wraps put your kids at risk.

"You don't know for sure how long those things have been sitting there and meat and things that are really high risk food contamination," Dunaway said.

Especially foods that have a lot of mayonnaise.

"You could get food poisoning from those things sitting too long."

Even a traditional PB&J can have a lot of sugar.

Dunaway says you can keep the peanut butter, but another thing you can do is switch out the jelly for fruit. Cut up a banana and you cut out a lot of sugar.

As for crusts?

"Crust is good. If they don't eat the crust you can cut it off for them and that's not spoiling them," Dunaway said.

Yogurt is another thing.

Dunaway says if it's marketed for kids it's not always the best.

"Really just do your own yogurt, and flavor it up with a little honey or sugar at home with a little fruit," Dunaway said.

She says it's better to be creative with what you have.

"Hard boiled eggs or it could be nuts in a trail mix, or you know, it doesn't have to be the standard, you know, sandwich all the time," said Dunaway.

Dunaway says, while it's good to be healthy, don't forget a cookie or treat.

Dunaway says it's also important to make sure food is kept at the right temperature, and that it's important to make sure the foods are not just healthy - but foods your kids like.

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