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Those who had less time to eat were also less likely to choose a fruit to go with the rest of their lunches. Although the study was done in younger children, Rimm believes it also applies to high school students. The study found that some kids spent so much time waiting in lunch lines they had as little as 10 minute to eat their meals.

Rimm hopes that the study will motivate school administrators to find ways to streamline lunch lines. In some cases that might be accomplished by simply adding a second cashier, he says. Sandwich cutters in fun designs are a parent's best friend. That turkey and avocado sandwich is more likely to be scarfed down if the sandwich is cut into a dinosaur or stars. Big portions can be intimidating for little stomachs and little fingers. If you put in a whole apple, make it a small-sized one that'll be easier for small hands and mouths to eat, or better yet, cut up the apple into slices to make it easier for your child.

It may be tempting to stuff your child's lunch box with a big sandwich, a full-size yogurt, and a big cup of fruit.

Eat Right Be Bright - School Lunch for All Kiwi Kids | ActionStation

But young elementary-school kids are often too busy chatting with pals to eat a huge lunch, and many don't eat huge meals in one sitting. Think about how your child eats at home; if he tends to graze and eat snacks and small meals, don't expect him to eat a giant lunch at school. Cut vegetables like carrots and zucchini into fun shapes using specialty vegetable cutters, which are inexpensive and fun. Turn watermelons and cantaloupes into bite-sized flowers and stars. Not only will the fun shapes make the fruit and veggies more attractive but the small size will also make it less daunting and easier for kids to eat.

Whether it's bow tie pasta with broccoli bites, macaroni or a healthy quesadilla with beans and veggies like zucchini or spinach hidden inside, cheese is the magic ingredient that will make your dish something kids will want to gobble up. A school lunch box isn't the time to trot out a new recipe or food that your child isn't familiar with. Most young children like to stick to their favorites.

School Food Options for Kids with Food Allergies

While dinner is a great opportunity to encourage kids to try something new, a better bet for school lunches is to stick with old favorites. Jazz up water with some cut up fruit or give him grapes to go with some cheddar cheese and multigrain bread. Make other sweet goodies such as a cookie or brownie a once-in-a-while treat but do use fruit to add a sweet touch to your child's lunch.

Add some melted string cheese, broccoli bites, and other favorite veggies, and voila! Aside from two hourlong periods of gym during the week, kids often walk during school outings and field trips which can include anything from an hour to the local library, a visit to local farms, to the lakeside for paddleboard lessons, or a hike up a local mountain.

Walking is emphasized in even younger ages β€” indeed 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool will walk up to 2 kilometers in an afternoon to go visit the local library. Sometimes they walk to the local retirement home to sing songs for the elderly. Elementary-aged school children in the big French cities walk just as much β€” it's often easier for them because of sidewalks.

Or they use a trottinette micro-scooter. It all starts at home: We know what healthy foods are, and we need to use our positive influence to feed our kids healthier foods and and teach healthy eating and exercise habits by example. Home-cooked meals based on plenty of fresh produce, and a weekly family walk, hike or game of tag are simple lifestyle habits that make a difference in a child's life over time.

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What about school? Two suggestions: If healthy options are not available in your school, get in the habit of packing a healthy lunch for your child and boycott the cafeteria's fast foods. Then, reach out to local, state and national elected officials and demand better nutrition in your school.

To learn how to take specific action for better food at your child's school, visit the official website of Fed Up , a documentary about America's sugar addiction and obesity epidemic. Lead Photo Credit: Shutterstock. You are now subscribed Be on the lookout for a welcome email in your inbox!

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