BOSTON (CBS) – With parents less than a month away from sending kids back to school, there’s a new study from Tufts University that suggests brown bag lunches from home aren’t always more nutritious than cafeteria fare.

Researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts looked at more than 600 lunches from Massachusetts third- and fourth-graders in 12 schools across the state and found that most parents do not pack very nutritious lunches.

Only 27-percent of the lunches in the study met at least three of five National School Lunch Program standards. Snacks, desserts and sugary drinks were more likely to be found in the lunch bags than fruits or vegetables.

Boston nutritionist Kate Scarlata said it’s important that parents packing lunches focus on a “well-balanced plate.

“It doesn’t have to just be a sandwich and some chips, but really making sure there’s some produce in there, carrot sticks or fruit,” she said.

Scarlata said sometimes to get healthy you have to get creative.

“I think if you put a warm apple in a lunch bag it might be less appealing than perhaps granny smith apple slices that have a little lemon juice to prevent the browning and give it a nice sour apple taste to it,” she suggested.

The study acknowledges that sometimes parents don’t pack the healthy stuff because their kids won’t eat it.

Scarlata said that getting kids involved in packing lunches can sometimes help.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports


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