To Pack Or Not To Pack - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/13/03 - Longview

To Pack Or Not To Pack

Before you send the kids off to school this year, you've got a big decision to make. Should you pack your child a lunch or let them eat what the school prepares?

Which menu takes head of the class when it comes to nutrition?

We started by making a standard lunch most parents would make for their children. We made a ham sandwich, granola bar, Cheetoes, and a juice box to wash it all down.

Then we compared the packed lunch with a typical school lunch. We had a hamburger, fries, whole kernel corn, chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk.

So how do the two lunches break down?

"Our school lunch had more protein, more calcium, it also had less fat and less sodium. Our lunch from home was a lot higher in sodium and a lot lower in calcium. It also had more fat," says dietitian, Christina Peteet.

The school lunch has more nutritional value for your child than the packed lunch. Christina says you can improve the packed lunch by using whole wheat bread instead of white, baked chips instead of regular Cheetoes and fruit instead of a sugared sweets.

Nutritionally the school lunch got better marks but which is cheaper? On average school lunches this year cost a $1.50 to $1.75. The packed lunch with a sandwich, granola bar, bag of Cheetoes and juice box was about 20 cents cheaper.

Amy Tatum reporting.

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