is it better to favor the hot meal or the lunch box at school?

Summer is coming to an end. If this means for the children a return to school, this return to reality also means the end of long aperitifs, ice creams at any time of the day and improvised picnics. To get the school year off to a good start, parents are determined to rebalance their little blond heads. And since their children are going to spend 5 days a week at school, a question torments the parents: should they favor hot meals in the school canteen or take out the good old sandwich box for their lunch?

Until now, you may have had the impression that most parents opt for having their children have a hot lunch at noon, a matter of convenience. However, according to figures compiled by the Education League, only one child in five eats in the canteen at school.

In view of the increase in prices charged in all canteens, it is a safe bet that this trend will increase. Indeed, the Family League estimates at the start of the school year that this increase in the cost of school meals will be around 5 to 8 euros more per month for a single child. That is an average of 56.80 euros for meals in kindergarten, 57.22 euros for meals in primary school and finally more than 60 euros for meals in secondary schools. But can we decently make our children eat cold every midday of the week?

Read also: Back to school: why are the prices of hot meals soaring?

In the video, discover some tips for saving money:

Hot meal or sandwiches?

“It doesn’t matter whether the dinner is hot or cold as long as it offers a varied and balanced diet”, comments for Le Ligueur from the outset Gisèle Gual, pediatric dietetics. Because the important thing is, as always, what ends up on the plate. The lunch box is therefore not to be banned, provided that it is made up of the right ingredients. Contrary to popular belief, the lunch box can be tasty, varied and rich in nutrients and vitamins. The concern is that parents generally lack the imagination to reinvent it.

By habit, we will put two slices of bread, a little butter if necessary and a slice of cheese or ham. Only, for this meal to be truly balanced, you just need to know precisely how to compose the plate for your mini-you. If we stick to the recommendations of the WHO, children from 3 to 17 years old should eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, cereals every day while favoring whole or unrefined cereals, legumes at least twice a week, 3 dairy products a day, meat and fish alternately at least twice a week. On the other hand, animal protein intake should be limited to 10 g per year of age. As for cold cuts, it is to be limited (the limit is set at 30 g per week) as are sweet products and drinks with a sweet taste.

Read also: Four recipe ideas for your children’s lunch boxes

Healthy and balanced sandwiches

Forget the ham and cheese sandwiches! First choose wholemeal bread instead of white bread. Replace the butter with spreads, guacamole or a plant-based alternative and then add cheese, or canned fatty fish, for example. Finally, to complete the menu, we will add crunchy vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, etc. Obviously, the idea is to make tasting these foods fun by dipping them in hummus, for example. You can also put cooked vegetables that you mix with a cereal and thus compose a salad.

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