Tips on School Lunches - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tips on School Lunches

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- As students go back to school, many parents wonder how to get their child a good lunch.

Many think packing a healthy lunch is expensive, but experts say there's often no price difference between buying lunch off a menu, or simply bringing your own.

Kids are in school to learn, and a healthy lunch is essential to their education.

"In depth studies about the importance of eating good nutritious meals, and all of them point towards the fact that students are a lot better prepared for academic success when they have a nutritious diet," said Sam Schick, Food Service Director for the Kennewick School District. 

And no matter whether you pack a lunch, or have your child buy one, they can usually get a balanced meal for less than $3.00, but packing something many parents don't know how to do.

"It's more cost effective to buy your own apples and dice them up into wedges and put them in a baggy," said Nancy Linville, a Registered Dietician.

If you're packing, experts say, even though you want to be healthy, make sure you're kids will actually eat what's being put in front of them.

"You can serve a lot of things that are nutritious that don't taste very good, but if it tastes good the kids will eat it," said Bob Gilliam, a school food service provider.

And making sure you're kids are involved in the process can take much of the stress off of planning lunch.  If kids are involved in the process, they're much more likely to eat what's packed for them.

For high school students, the process is a little different, as costs can go up dramatically due to off campus lunches.

Also, new state laws on free-and-reduced lunches now make breakfast free at area schools.