School lunches versus packed lunches

Posted by Becky Gulden

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  We're at day 8 of our 20 days, 20 ways to survive the economy.

Today, we're talking about school lunches.

Some parents think getting a good nutritional lunch at school maybe too expensive but is it?  What is the true cost of school lunches?

It's considered the cheapest meal in town, $2 for lunch in a CMS cafeteria.

"You're getting more bang for the buck extra hot meal turkey rice and gravy with a fruit, vegetable and milk," said Amy Harkey with the Charlotte Mecklenburg child nutrition services.

Harkey says the price of lunch is low and the nutrients high.

"When we are planning a school lunch for that two dollar meal we are also planning the most nutritional dense food that we can get and a lot of time we don't see that in a lunch box that comes from home," said Harkey.

Recently the state compared the price and nutrition of a lunch brought from home and a meal prepared in a cafeteria.

A brown bag lunch could consist of a sandwich, Doritos, an apple, cookies and a capri sun fruit punch. That lunch will cost you up to 2 dollars and 35 cents which is more expensive than a school lunch.

Some parents may be able to pack a lunch for less than $2 but Harkey says when you pack a lunch think about your child's diet.

"You have to look major nutrients kids are not getting like Vitamin A and C and Calcium that's a big one," said Harkey.

If packing or buying a lunch is still expensive for you consider applying for the district's free and reduce lunch program.

During these tough times your finances may change at any moment that's why you can apply all during the school year.

To see if you qualify for free and reduced lunch call Child Nutrition at 980-343-6041.

WBTV's Dedrick Russell has more on today's segment.