How going back to school is changing kids’ eating habits

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New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sabra revealed how parents are trying to get their kids to eat healthier (Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash).

Seven in 10 American parents are radically changing their approach to their kid’s lunches and snacks this school year, according to new research.

It’s a year for change and the start to this school year has proven no different, as half of American parents said they’re using “back to school” as a way to get their kids back to healthy eating.

The study of 2,000 parents of school-aged children, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Sabra, aimed to discover just how parents are approaching the new school year in these unique times.

Results uncovered 79% of respondents are stocking up on food differently than they did in the spring — parents plan on buying their kids granola bars (36%), trail mix (34%), hummus (33%) and veggie chips (33%).

Four in 10 parents surveyed are seeking ways to backtrack all the comfort food they fed their little ones when the pandemic and virtual school began.

Parents are so concerned about their children’s health that 74% are resorting to organizing their kids’ snacks so healthier options are more physically within reach.

With the hopes of getting their kids to live healthier this school year, 78% of parents plan on bringing some semblance of normalcy to their kids’ school days by pre-planning their snacks and lunches, whether they are in the classroom or in virtual school.

There is good news: parents feel their kids can make better choices at home than they do at school (50%). And 72% said their kids tend to eat healthier at home.

Three in four (74%) caregivers expect this back-to-school season will be more chaotic than ever and — with a new respect for school food service professionals — 64% complain they are dreading becoming the “lunch lady” at home.

Nearly three in four caregivers (73%) also said they will be limiting their kids’ sugar intake.

“With so many kids learning in a home or hybrid model, busy parents are concerned about providing a steady stream of healthy meals and snacks,” said Jason Levin, Sabra CMO.

“Many are seeking to reduce sugar intake and boost plant-based food consumption and stocking up on fruits, nuts and quick, kid-friendly foods like hummus.

“We’ve teamed with plant-based TikTok sensation Tabitha Brown who took over our social platforms to share easy, kid-friendly recipes to help rescue those ‘lunch ladies’ at home.”

While 74% said this school year will be more chaotic than previous years, four in five still plan on scheduling their kids’ days from beginning to end — including mealtime — despite the chaos.

Maintaining structure for kids is so important for parents because they find their kids are better behaved (53%), they are able to focus more on their schoolwork (69%) and they tend to sleep better (48%) when they have a set routine they consistently follow.

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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