How Going Back to School is Changing American Kids’ Eating Habits


It’s a year for change, and seven in 10 American parents say they are radically changing their approach to kid’s lunches and snacks this school year, according to a new survey.

Half of the parents say they’re using “back to school” as a way to get their kids back to healthy eating, as a way to backtrack all the comfort food they fed their little ones when the pandemic and virtual school began.

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 and uncovered 79% say they are stocking up on food differently than they did in the spring.

With the hopes of getting their kids to live healthier this school year, 78% of parents will 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.

Many feel their kids will have better choices at home than they do at school (50%) The reality is, 72% say their kids tend to eat healthier at home.

With new respect for school cafeteria workers, 64% complain they are dreading becoming the ‘lunch lady’ at home. Maybe because nearly three in four caregivers (73%) say they will be limiting their kids’ sugar intake.

Some of the snack items they will buy include granola bars (36%), trail mix (34%), hummus (33%), and veggie chips (33%).

“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,” said Jason Levin, Sabra CMO.

“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,” continued Levine.

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.

So, four in five plan on scheduling their kids’ days from beginning to end—including mealtime.