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They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But when it comes to performance at school, dieticians say, parents need to pay as much attention to lunch.

“They need that for better behavior, better attention span and to be prepared to learn. It’s proven,” said registered dietician, Anne Thacker.

The mother of two says pasta salad with carbs, fresh cheese, and colorful veggies is a great replacement for prepackaged meals full of sodium and preservatives.

“If they have lots of processed food and sugar, they’re not going to have the attention span, and be hungry later because the body is digesting that so quickly,” she said.

The energy boosting lunch doesn’t need to be kept hot or cold, either.

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