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It is almost time to go back to school! That means it is time to start preparing for all the new routines and challenges that fall brings. Making sure that you child is getting a balanced, healthy diet can be more challenging when they eat lunch away from home. When your child has braces, another layer is added to the challenge. We have taken a look at the local school cafeteria lunch offerings in South Riding to come up with some suggestions and choices for you to talk to your child about!

 

Breakfast

 

Little River Elementary School, Hutchison Farm Elementary School, and Liberty Elementary School all offer very similar breakfast options. Many of these school breakfast options are very high in sugar, which can be a problem if you have braces. Whenever possible, encourage your child to choose the cheesy option, such as a bosco stick or cheese omelette pita pocket, as cheese contains calcium and protein that will benefit their teeth and overall health. If they really really want the sugary cereal option, encourage them to at least opt for a string cheese stick on the side, which most schools offer.

 

Beverages

 

The elementary schools, as well as J. Michael Lunsford Middle School in Chantilly and Freedom High School in South Riding, all offer fruit juice and assorted flavors of milk as beverage options at school mealtimes. Encourage your child to choose regular milk whenever possible, as the dairy offers extra benefits like calcium that will help their teeth and bones grow stronger. You can also encourage them to bring their own water bottles with them to mealtimes.

 

Fruits and Veggies

 

The local elementary schools offer 2 vegetable options at most lunchtimes, including a fresh salad or assorted steamed veggies. If your child has braces, you should encourage them to choose the steamed option as the veggies will be softer and easier for them to chew. You may also want to consider packing a quick and easy veggie snack, like carrots or sliced bell peppers, in your child’s backpack for the days that veggies are not offered as an option. Soft fruit options, like fruit cups and apple sauce, are available most days and make great options for students with braces!

 

Lunch Entrees

 

Right after your child has their braces tightened, it can be difficult for them to eat entrees like chicken tenders and sandwiches that require a lot of chewing or tearing bites off with their teeth. Encourage them to choose options like macaroni and cheese, refried beans, and pizza that can be cut up into small, bite sized pieces.

 

While each of these schools has slightly different menu offerings every day, they appear to be very similar to each other and offer a wide enough range of options for your child to be able to make some great choices at mealtimes. If you have any questions about the best options for your child, call our office today!