School Lunch Showdown: Pack or Purchase?

November 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Dietary Patterns, Fat


When it comes to school lunch, parents are faced with one of two choices: pack or purchase.

So which school lunch is healthier? The answer might surprise you.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior showed that when you pack a kid’s lunch, it is more likely to contain more fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Compare that to school lunches, which are higher in protein, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium.

This particular study looked at 1,314 school lunches: 562 of which were packed and 752 were school-purchased. The researchers found that packed lunches were generally less nutritious than those purchased at schools.

Nationwide, about 40% of American kids bring a packed lunch to school. For more information about the benefits of school nutrition, check out the USDA’s National School Lunch Program website at