We were reluctant to purchase school lunch. We had packed our children’s lunch through preschool and were not sure if the school would take such care and offer the high quality we had prefer for our children. Like many parents our standards are simple, whole grains, fresh vegetables and limited sugar and fat.

Early in the school year we learned the kids were provided chocolate and strawberry milk each day. While we appreciate that children will always be provided choices and we can focus on helping them make the healthier choice, we also know that these products have little nutritional value and no place in our children’s diets.

What can a concerned parent do? You can choose to pack your own lunch and control the choices your children have but honestly, it was such a relief to use the school system and not worry about packing a lunch each day.

You can also begin the steps to advocate for better choices for our children.  Here are some suggestions to get you started:

First, open discussions with food service providers to review the options and nutritional content of lunch choices. Share your concerns about quality, quantity or value of the foods provided.

Second, look for groups such as LiveWell Moms or Colorado Action for Healthy Kids that provide resources to help you advocate. There are many parents and many organizations that have been down this road before and have paved the way for change. Take this information and present to your school food service providers and principal.

Finally, be persistent. Ask other parents to get involved and stand up for change.

Our children do not need added preservatives, sugar or fat. They need the freshest, healthiest foods prepared on site daily.  As with any change, it takes education, passion, determination and persistence to find a way to create change.

California girl Amy and mom of two now resides with her family in Castle Pines. As a health and fitness professional, she’s passionate about educating adults and children to make healthier choices that result in a better quality of life.