A new study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition set out to determine the nutrient content of preschoolers' lunches. Researchers studied the contents of 607 parent-packed lunches for preschool children. They found that only one quarter of lunches packed by parents contained adequate fiber. Only half of the lunches contained adequate vitamin A and calcium. Less than one in eight lunches contained adequate potassium. On average, thirty percent of the total calories in the lunches came from sugar.
The researchers concluded that lunches packed by parents do not consistently provide adequate nutrients. This may be one reason children age 3-5 are not consuming adequate essential nutrients.
To send your preschooler to daycare with a healthy lunch, avoid prepackaged lunches, include whole fruits and vegetables and check nutrition labels for added sugar.
Christine Dobrowolski is a nutritionist and whole-foods advocate.