Let’s Talk About Lunch

1. What’s your favorite lunch to get at school?

Find out what your child loves about it, and then expand the conversation: What do his friends like to eat? What would he eat if he could only eat one thing every day?

2. How do you choose what you eat in the cafeteria?

If your child selects the same thing every day, encourage her to occasionally mix things up to keep her taste buds from getting bored and to make sure she’s giving her body a variety of healthy nutrients. Before you head to her cafeteria for National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, review the menu for the day of your visit—and do the same for all lunches. Poor food choices are often the result of not taking time to consider all the options beforehand.

4. What’s your favorite vegetable on the school menu?

If he doesn’t have an answer, talk about ones worth trying and encourage him to include one on his tray every day.

5. Are there things available for lunch at school that you want me to try making at home?

Not only might you get some new ideas for dinner, but you’ll also find out more about the breadth of the school menu.

6. Do you eat everything on your tray?

Ask how much, and which foods, she typically leaves on her tray. Each item is there for a reason (veggies for fiber, a sandwich for protein, dairy for calcium), so knowing what your child doesn’t like or trades away will help you know which nutrients she needs by the time she gets home. (It’s also the perfect opportunity to remind her how strong and smart a healthy, balanced lunch will make her feel!)

7. Are you full after your meal at school?

If he’s full, how full—Thanksgiving full or satisfied? He might be rushing through his lunch and not stopping to think about how he feels, so encourage him to listen to what his body is telling him—if he feels full, it’s okay to stop eating.

8. Is there anything you want to eat at school that you don’t see in the cafeteria?

Unless she says “Candy bars!,” you can use her ideas to talk to the food service provider about the menu options.

9. Do you have enough time for lunch?

In some schools, this can be a challenge. If it is for your child, start a conversation about it with your school’s parent group. The timing for lunch is a big issue to tackle at many schools, so you’ll probably need support from other parents before talking to the principal.