34 / 29
      40 / 26
      42 / 27

      The importance of a healthy school lunch

      Sarah Carson loves to cook for her family. With very few exceptions, she takes full responsibility for her kids' nutrition, whether they're at school or at home.

      "I make their lunches every single day of the week for school, except for days they might enjoy pizza or, there was, I think popcorn chicken on the menu last year that my son liked occasionally," says Carson.

      While Carson has nothing personal against school lunches or those that use them, she says she feels responsible for what goes into her children's bodies. So she packs their lunches using natural ingredients, by providing a little of everything from the basic food groups.

      Be it homemade jam for a peanut butter and jelly, homegrown vegetables, healthier replacements for potato chips, or just using whole wheat bread for a sandwich, Carson likes to find ways to improve every aspect of their meal.

      "Stuff I know is more nutritious, not as empty as, y'know, just regular white flour that you will see in normal school lunches," says Carson.

      But a good healthy lunch in the cafeteria or from home doesn't just provide nutritional value to students.

      "Studies have shown that a good breakfast and lunch help keep kids focused," says Catherine Turner of Negaunee Public Schools. "It helps test scores, it improves behavior in the classroom. It really is an important part of your school day."

      For Sarah Carson, making nutritious school lunches at home is as much a labor of love as a desire to keep her family healthy.

      "I just...I don't know, I just like to put the extra personal touch into it," says Carson.