How To Eat Healthy In College Dining Halls

How To Eat Healthy In College Dining Halls

How To Eat Healthy In College Dining Halls

How To Eat Healthy In College Dining Halls

How To Eat Healthy In College Dining Halls.There are still many children who must stay to eat at school, but we always have the doubt of whether what is offered is the best possible formula. How should the school menu be?

The school menus should be done by a nutritionist and the parents should be able to dispose of them so that the rest of the daily meals complement it. Up to here, everything simple. However, not everything is much less clear and there are some points to improve and others in which a change of concept would be more positive to achieve good nutrition and proper food education.

The model menu

The ideal menu should be one that covers 30 to 30% of children’s energy needs, include fruits and vegetables, offer (in theory) protein foods of animal origin on a daily basis, that the fat is healthy and that it does not contribute more than 35% of the energy and avoid sugar, fried and excess salt, considering that it is better to spice up everything in the kitchen.

So far we could say that it seems appropriate, however, despite being able to fear situations of protein malnutrition in families with serious economic problems, the daily inclusion of animal proteins could be questioned, especially if they are included in all dishes and in excess.

Are school menus adequate?

Strategies are established to get healthier school menus because, from time to time, experts point out that their quality should be improved and that they should be more balanced.

There is no doubt that the school menu and the home menu should be complemented , but in addition to that, it would be advisable to thoroughly review what products are offered to the children and what the preparations are.

Frequent errors in school menus

The vegetables, cooked and fresh, should be present in all the dishes of the school menu , but not in testimonial form, but in abundant and attractive preparations.

It is not enough to put next to the battered fish (we will talk about the right fish and its preparations) a transparent slice of tomato, a bit of dried cucumber and a sheet of sad and soft lettuce. A salad should be rich, appetizing, well prepared and containing all kinds of vegetables.

Likewise, the vegetable should be widely present in the first dishes, be they legumes, pasta or rice, and in the variety that the dish admits. A paella with five peas is not worth it, it has to have a good stir-fry and varied and delicious vegetables, because if they are leathery or blandurras, the children will not eat them either.

Legumes are a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins and minerals. And they admit many different preparations, so they could be included daily, complemented with other foods.

Another thing that is scarce in the school menus is the integral cereals, basic for a balanced contribution of fiber and minerals. In fact, it would be much better if bread and cereals from the school menu were integral to the vast majority of dishes.

The most frequent errors of the school menus are the repetition of dishes, the excess of fried foods, saturated fats, sweets, precooked foods (croquettes, pasties), breaded ones.

The imbalance that supposes a very high percentage of animal proteins and the shortage of vegetables would be something to value, then, in a certain way, if we analyze what meat products are pre-cooked, breaded or what is added to vegetables maybe more well we find ourselves with a purely theoretical excess, although the lack of fresh vegetables is surely unquestionable.

Proposals to improve the school menu

Considering the problems of obesity and the lack of fresh foods in the normal diet in many houses, and the excess of proteins that usually exist in children’s diet , one proposal would be to make school menus mainly  in which meat and fish were not the basis nutritional and, when they appeared, blue fish with a greater amount of heavy metals ,  and fatty meats would be avoided , prioritizing preparations without added fats.

Another idea would be to improve school menus is that children participate much more actively in the choice of food, their preparation and their service, although that might clash with the regulations despite being an element of education and enjoyment fundamental.

Something that I think should be aimed at is to improve the quality of products and preparations, include all the possible integral and ecological foods and offer children and parents greater possibilities of choice, that is, to respect the beliefs and decisions of parents (including vegetarianism) and allow the menu to include several dishes to choose from each day, just as it happens in college dining halls or companies.

Done this review of how the school menu should be, I invite you to share your experiences and opinions with us.

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