Our big project for the beginning of 2013 has been to gather all of the information that we need to do a complete nutritional analysis on all of our school lunch meals. Although it is still a work in progress, we have discovered a few very interesting things!

First of all, the majority of our meals contain over 100% of the daily-recommended value of important vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein. There is no better or clearer argument for fresh fruits and vegetables!

Another eye-opener for me was the difference that a carton of milk makes in the calorie count of a meal, and this caused me to look into the benefits of drinking milk a bit. I found this a recent study that suggests that two cups of milk per day is sufficient for children to get the proper amount of vitamin D and allow the body to absorb the right amount of iron. (Too much milk can actually interfere with the absorption of iron.) You can check out a summary of the study here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/how-much-milk-should-children-drink/.

We have found that most of our meals fall right around the 600 calorie mark and for the most part, our fat contents are under the limit of 30%. As we work on perfecting our meals, you may notice small changes such as more whole grains, less cheese, and a greater variety of fresh vegetables.

We are committed to the health of your children!

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact me directly at susan@aquaterraculinary.com with any feedback about our kids! lunch program.

If you are interested in learning more about food, check out this month’s recommendation: The Edible Schoolyard Project- http://edibleschoolyard.org/ – a growing network of programs throughout the world that are working towards creating a healthier, food-literate population.

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