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When it comes time to start school, parents find ourselves with many decisions to make, always thinking about the good of our children, one of them being the school cafeteria, does a child eat better in the school cafeteria than at home? Or maybe it is better to eat at the grandparents' house?
Some of the advantages of school canteens are:
- The school canteen makes food social among the classmates themselves, which is very beneficial for children, seeing what others eat they can be encouraged to do the same.
- The menus are planned in advance, which allows us to supplement dinners with what is most appropriate, facilitating our family organization, which is appreciated with how busy life with children is.
- Their menus are made by nutritionists, which can ensure that they are healthy and balanced.
- The diet that is usually proposed is quite close to the Mediterranean diet, known to be one of the most recommended for health.
- The only drink offered is water, the best option to keep children hydrated.
As drawbacks, however, we can highlight:
- Sometimes in the dining room the child is encouraged - forced, even - to finish the plate, which does not benefit their nutritional habits at all. It is beneficial to be encouraged to try new foods, but children are very capable of deciding when they have finished eating, when they are full, and pushing that limit is but the first step towards obesity.
- Desserts are not always the healthiest. The fruit is replaced by yogurts, sometimes flavored, petit suisse or dairy desserts that are far from what is considered recommended in childhood, due to their high content of simple sugars.
- The caloric intake is usually excessive, especially for the little ones, for whom it may not meet the needs of micronutrients.
- Fried, breaded and / or precooked foods, although very well accepted by children, are present more than recommended.
- Sometimes, trying to lower costs, it includes excess cold cuts and meat preparations, whose fat and salt content is much higher than that of fresh meat, whose benefits are zero compared to this.
While many parents have no other option but to leave their children in the dining room because their working hours do not allow them to pick them up when leaving school, others can decide whether to do so or not, so the benefits that can be obtained from each must be assessed options available, while adapting the rest of the child's food - breakfast, snack and dinner - to offer the best possible diet.
You can read more articles similar to Eating at home or in the school cafeteria, what is better for children?, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.