Breakfast is usually given the credit for being the most important meal of the day, but lunch is equally as essential. The American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website reports that what your child eats for meals and snacks during the day plays a crucial role in his physical and mental development. Once you understand what can happen if your child regularly skips his midday meal, you will have the knowledge to prepare and provide nutritious and well-balanced lunches.
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Low Energy and Hunger
The calories in your child's lunch are essential for her energy level for the afternoon ahead. If your child regularly skips lunch, she will not consume the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals she needs to concentrate and focus until her afternoon snack or evening meal. Without a nutritious and well-balanced lunch, your child may feel sluggish and tired and probably will not be motivated to get much done. Your child will also feel hungry, which can cause headache, irritability and fatigue.
Your child's midday meal provides valuable opportunities for him to get a good dose of the vitamins and minerals he needs for proper growth and health. Without a well-balanced lunch, your child may be lacking in important nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamin C. Healthy Children notes that as your child grows, his nutritional needs increase and by not eating enough food, his development may suffer. Your child should eat a lunch that includes fruits, vegetables, protein foods and low-fat milk or other dairy products to get what he needs.
Concentration and focus in the classroom relies on proper nutrients your child gets from her lunch. Eating the right foods at lunch will help power your child's brain so she is able to be successful at school. If your child does not eat lunch, she may be lacking the vitamins and minerals she needs for her brain to work well so she can learn and retain classroom material. Not just any lunch will do either. Unhealthy foods can cause energy slumps, which get in the way of learning. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and low-fat dairy foods are the things your child needs to eat for lunch to benefit her school performance.
If your child does not eat a healthy lunch, he will have little motivation or ability to engage in after-school activities likes sports and other physical pursuits. If your child wants to be active, it is essential that he consume a healthy and well-balanced lunch so his body has the capability to move. Physical inactivity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which further gets in the way of your child's ability to engage in physical pursuits.