Study: School lunches are healthier than home packed lunches

A new study found that school-provided lunches are more nutritious than those brought from home. 
Comparing over 750 school meals with more than 560 packed lunches given to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in 3 schools over the course of 5 days,  Virginia Tech researchers found that the home lunches were less healthy, specifically:
  • School lunches have on average 512 calories while packed lunches had 608;
  • School lunches included 26 grams of protein compared to just 18 in packed lunches; 
  • Packed lunches were less likely to have fruits, vegetables, sugar-free juice and milk;
  • Packed lunches had more snacks such as chips and crackers; and
  • Packed lunches had more fat, and included more desserts and sugary drinks than the school lunches.
“There was a spectrum,” Alisha Farris, a Ph.D candidate at Virginia Tech and lead researcher said. “There were some really healthy packed lunches. But overall, they were pretty unhealthy.”
The study is published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
Of the 50 million children in US public schools, close to 60% of students eat school lunch while about 40% bring their lunch. 
Well…I guess First Lady Michelle Obama could gloat about this one given her platform during her husband’s two terms has been mainly promoting healthier school lunches and she has pushed to make them even more healthier. 
photo: Getty
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